The modern world means that almost every business requires the use of some kind of digital data whether it’s office-based administration, digital invoicing, or e-signatures for contracts. Data has become a valuable commodity and the threat of being maliciously hacked for the purposes of personal data theft is real and probable if you do not employ the necessary security measures.
As a business, you have a responsibility to protect the data of not only your company and your employees but your customers as well. While the threat of a data breach is always looming, fortunately, even basic protection can greatly reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
Depending on your business type, different methods in varying combinations might be required but some of the best ways to protect data include:
Encryption makes it almost impossible for data to be accessed without authorization while a managed IT package can deliver great results and employee training on data security should be the first step.
Data encryption is an excellent tool against the unauthorized access of data since the methods used make it very difficult, if not impossible for someone to access it. Every business type including the Construction industry, food and hospitality, and medical centers needs to use some kind of electronic data transmission. This could include emails, electronic invoices, or patient records and if these aren’t adequately protected could be very easy for a hacker to steal and disastrous for your company.
Fortunately, encrypting data is easy and can be done with software and/or plugins for apps. It works by scrambling the data of a message or file in such a way that it is unreadable unless opened by special software and an access key provided by the sender or an authorized user. There are multiple methods of encryption but some of the best tools to use are LastPass, BitLocker, and VeraCrypt.
A survey found that 60% of small businesses don’t believe that they will be the target of a hack and don’t take necessary measures, which is exactly why hackers target small businesses. A growing trend and a popular form of securing data is the use of a Managed IT Service. These specialized companies can provide all the necessary security that a business needs and more.
Employing your own IT security team and all purchasing and installing the equipment necessary for a network can be very expensive, so outsourcing this could be more beneficial. For a relatively small fee for the services provided, Managed IT companies can provide round-the-clock network monitoring, cloud-based network services, antimalware scans, regular data backups, and IT support. The support of a Managed IT service is one of the best long-term solutions to data security and should be considered as soon as possible.
As with the old days of hacking, employee ignorance is still a key security weakness when it comes to data breaches. A responsible business owner that deals with any kind of digital data should make it a priority to train staff on correct data security procedures. A recent study found that 65% of participants employed password reuse across multiple sites and accounts which is obviously a huge risk.
Employees should be educated in at least proper password usage that includes different and complex passwords for different sites, not writing down or sharing passwords and usernames and never revealing them to anybody over the phone or in emails, not even “IT security”, who could in fact be a hacker posing as a network administrator. Other training could include encryption, authorized device network access and chain of custody procedures.