What would you do if your business data became compromised?
A recent survey of small businesses showed that 43% lacked any type of cybersecurity plan. Ransomware is on the rise with one in five SMBs falling victim to this attack. And 63% of business owners experienced a data breach over the past 12 months.
With these constant digital security threats, how do you safeguard your most valuable asset – your data?
This article offers 10 data protection tips to help keep your business’s information secure.
We reveal how to access your file server remotely while keeping your data safe. You’ll learn how to reduce zero-day exploits by installing software patches. Also, you’ll discover how to educate your workforce and implement proper passwords.
Read on to find out how to protect your critical data. Before it’s too late.
1. Backup Data To the Cloud
A data backup strategy is essential to protect your data in case something goes wrong. And the Cloud offers the best way to make a secure copy of that information.
Cloud backup solutions let you save your files online. That means you can access them whenever you want and easily overwrite older documents that you no longer need.
Many Cloud providers offer a simple API or protocol to make the process painless. You can even store gigabytes of data for only a few dollars per month.
2. Use Encrypted Digital Security
If a hacker breaks into your file server will they have access to all your confidential information?
To safeguard against this, make sure to encrypt all your important documents, especially customer files.
This is a legal requirement for many business sectors like the medical profession where HIPAA compliance is in force. That includes encrypting emails, communications, and mobile messaging.
Be sure to also encrypt your backup files, especially if hosting them on the Cloud.
3. Dispose of Data Securely
Never dispose of old hard drives, USB flash drives, or microSD cards by just throwing them in the trash.
Install shredding software onto the drive before disconnecting it. These special apps remove all traces of data from the hardware. Even if the drives are physically recovered, their contents are wiped and your data remains protected.
4. Secure Remote File Server Access
Many businesses hold their company data on a file server which is accessed through a local or wide area network. This ensures important information’s kept safe and limits who can interact with it.
Yet what if you need remote access to your file server? How do you protect your data and keep your server safe?
Thankfully secure remote file server access solutions exist to make this process easy and secure.
You don’t need to use a VPN and the software works with your existing active directory. That means you control who has access and you’ll also save on bandwidth with an on-demand synchronization facility.
5. Install Patches and Updates
Don’t ignore the ‘computer must restart to install important updates’ message!
Malicious coders are constantly discovering exploits that grant them access to your data. The updates help fight against zero-day vulnerabilities by fixing issues as quickly as possible.
Although annoying, installing security updates and patches ensure your computers remain up-to-date. Schedule your devices to automatically apply them. And restart if required during out-of-office hours.
6. Protect Your Passwords
Passwords are the bane of computer users everywhere but they’re an essential component of digital security.
Always use random passwords and use a different password each time. To help you remember them all, use a password storage solution like Dashlane Password Manager.
The free version lets you save up to 50 accounts and works in your browser. You only need to remember one password while the software stores the rest.
If possible, use two-factor authentication to strengthen your logins.
Many financial websites now need you to verify your credentials through your phone. This two-step process ensures you only have access to your business bank details.
7. Educate Your Workforce
Social engineering’s defined as ‘using deception to manipulate individuals to divulge information’. Hackers use it alongside traditional digital security attacks to gain entry into your private network.
You can reduce the risk of social engineering exploits by educating your staff on data protection tips.
For example, publish links to online training videos that highlight the dangers of this type of attack. Showcase simple steps on what to be on the lookout for and what to do if they feel they’re under threat.
Guides on security procedures like logging off from an unattended computer can also protect your data in the long-run.
8. Conduct an IT Audit
Most small businesses don’t have the knowledge to recognize whether their IT systems are secure against a data breach. The solution? Call in the experts.
Cybersecurity consultants will conduct an IT audit to discover any potential issues on your network.
Their report will highlight any problems and list them in order of importance. Severe warnings need an immediate remedy but don’t hire the first team you speak to.
Make sure to shop around for the best provider who can manage your network remotely at the right price. Check their credentials and review their feedback to work with a team that suits you best.
9. Add a Network Firewall
A firewall acts as a shield between your devices and the ‘wild-west’ of the Internet. It blocks incoming attacks and spots any unauthorized intrusions.
However, if you rely on each PC running its own firewall you need to watch out!
Software firewalls installed on local computers offer the least protection. Instead, utilize a hardware network firewall to block malicious traffic at the source before it infects everyone.
Hardware firewalls offer the best answer for how to protect data on your local network.
10. Lock Mobile Devices
Mobile phones are increasingly used to access business data but what if they’re stolen?
If your business cell phone has no security to unlock it then you run the risk of easy unauthorized access. One simple tip on how to protect your data is to use a PIN or pattern on the unlock screen.
That extra step becomes a major barrier for a thief to access your confidential information. And you can wipe your phone remotely if required if this feature is enabled.
Data Protection and More at DigiGyan Blog
This article’s explored a range of data protection measures to help safeguard your business. From securing remote file access to ensuring you patch your devices, you now know how to protect your data.
DigiGyan offers lots of data protection tips like these in our blog.
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