More and more hacking attacks and data leaks are being reported and the perpetrators are exposing or selling customer data files in record numbers. But just like with any business threat, there are actions you can take to minimize the risk and ensure your business retains a positive reputation with customers.
Here are some suggestions on how to protect your valuable data:
1. Stop using the same password everywhere. Set a policy for all staff that passwords must be unique for each user and for your workplace. That means it can’t be like the one on their home PC, tablet or online banking. Passwords are hacked more than ever, so consider using a pass phrase that isn’t as easily hacked. If remembering them is an issue consider using a password management tool.
2. Go on a shredding spree. How much sensitive data do you just throw out in the bin? People often easily take valuable customer data straight out of the bins of small businesses and quickly sell or publish it. It only take 5 seconds to run documents through the shredder or if you have a large amount of document consider using a secure shredding company.
3. Ditch the accounting spreadsheets. Still using an Excel doc for all your financial calculations? As well as making your accountant’s job harder (and more expensive for you), you are opening your business to a massive range of vulnerabilities. Even password protected spreadsheets aren’t designed to safeguard your financials or those of your clients. Contact your accountant to assist you to upgrade to a proper accounting solution with built-in customer data protections and security guarantees.
4. Train staff explicitly. Don’t just rely on common sense because what you think is a given is an unknown to someone else. It is recommended to hold special data-safety training sessions once or twice a year as a reminder and don’t forget to train new staff into the way things are done.
5. Limit access to data. Just like the guard at your local bank, you can limit who accesses your data. Revoke employee access as soon as they leave your business and set rules around who can access what – and when. Do they need access to sensitive information while working from home? Should they be able to edit files or only view them? Do they really need access to that folder?
6. Keep your software updated. Having out-dated software can be an open invitation for cyber-criminals. They look for known weaknesses in business software and walk right in. While the nagging pop-ups and reminders to update software can feel like a selling ploy, they’re actually helping your business to stay in safe. Updated software closes off those holes and gives you protection against new viruses, hacking techniques and known weaknesses.
If you would like to make sure your business is secure from data breaches, give us a call at 08 8326 4364 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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