No matter how big or small your business is and no matter what industry you work in, keeping your business data secure should be your top priority. In a world where user data is highly valued and hackers are constantly trying to access this sensitive information, it’s your job as a company to keep your users safe and your data secure.
Whether you’ve already experienced a data leak and know how frustrating and difficult it can be, or you’re just starting out and want to ensure you’re moving in the right direction, here are the top six tips for keeping your business data secure.
#1. Write a Strategy
Having a strategy is the very first step to securing your data. If you don’t have a plan of attack, then there’s a risk that your attempt at securing your data goes haywire. A written strategy will help you stay on track and remember what you need to accomplish. It can point out weaknesses that need to be watched and fixed, but it can also determine what platforms to use.
You’ll need to dedicate time to building a strategy for your data security. It will take more than five minutes to create, but rest assured that the time spent on building your strategy is not a waste. A well-built strategy is the foundation for a well-built data security system, so take the time to really think and plan your strategy.
#2. Protect Against Malware
While you may be most worried about hackers, you should not forget about malware and viruses. It’s true that hacking and malicious activity presents the largest threat to your business’s data, but viruses and malware can be equally troublesome and frustrating.
If malware is able to bypass your security system, all of your data is at risk. Fortunately, protecting your business data against malware isn’t difficult.
Setting up a firewall is the first step in protecting your data from malware. While it won’t catch everything, it will certainly reduce the number of threats and works as the first line of defense. Next, you’ll want to invest in good computer protection software to further protect your data from hacking, malicious activity, and viruses.
You’ll also want to investigate email security measures. This often takes the form of anti-spam software and prevents most malicious emails from coming through and disrupting your system.
#3. Create Strong Passwords
Everyone has their go-to password choice, even the technology pros. Unfortunately, if you rely on the same password or a variation of your regular password, you immediately put your data at risk.
Long, complex passwords are a pain to remember, but data hacks are an even bigger pain. When it comes to any passwords that are associated with your data security system, make sure they are all unique and contain symbols, numbers, and punctuation that prevent the password from being easily guessed.
#4. Plan Around Personal Devices
These days, many employees use their own devices for work. Whether they work at home or they use their phone to log onto their email while they’re away from their desk, it’s very likely that staff are going to use their personal devices to access company sites and platforms.
Using personal devices to access business data increases security risks, but it’s often unavoidable. Since personal devices now play such a vital role in how work is completed and how businesses are run, it’s important to make a security plan that incorporates them.
The best way to prevent or lower the risks associated with using personal devices is to plan for them. Even if you don’t allow employees to use their own laptops at work or you provide them with work phones, you should always be prepared for someone to access their work from a personal device.
#5. Arrange for Automatic Software Updates
Not updating your data security system is perhaps one of the biggest errors you can make. As technology advances and hackers continue hunting for vulnerable businesses, your data security system needs to be able to stand up to threats. Letting it grow old or forgetting to update it regularly makes your data vulnerable.
You should arrange for regular security updates to be made throughout the year, but once or twice is not often enough to ensure your data remains secure. Fortunately, you can set up automatic software updates that will protect your data during the in-between times.
Automatic updates don’t need to be complex. By making updates to device security settings and operating systems, you give your security system an extra boost of protection. Setting up automatic updates means you don’t have to wonder when the next update will need to be installed or leave your worrying about who will arrange for it to be implemented.
#6. Encrypt Your Wireless Network
Everyone loves a free WiFi network, but letting customers on the same network as your employees puts your business data at risk. If you don’t at least choose to encrypt your network, hackers will face fewer challenges when trying to access your data.
Protecting your wireless network won’t prevent every hacker from accessing it, but it makes it much more difficult. One of the best ways to encrypt your wireless network is to turn off the broadcasting option so that hackers can’t easily find it. With your network now invisible, anyone who plans on accessing or hacking your business data will have to work harder to get what they want.
Keep Your Data Safe
Keeping your data safe is not a one and done type of situation. You’ll need to arrange for regular and consistent updates and actively create new strategies to help you fix security weaknesses. While there are a few steps you can take outside of an IT office, you will need to invest in a good security team in order to ensure your data continues to remain secure.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect solution for protecting your business data and keeping hackers at bay. If you’re lucky, you won’t ever have to deal with a hacker or a data breach, but the risk will always be there. By hiring a good IT team and preparing for the worst, though, you’ll encounter fewer problems and rest assured that your data is as well protected as it can be.
WRITTEN BYClaire Ward