Small business owners are often completely oblivious to data security while others don’t even have time to devote to it. While the US is cracking down on cyber-attacks and inflicting harsher penalties on perpetrators, they are still very relevant and something you should prepare for. Here are some ways that you can improve your business’s data security in the future.
Identify Sensitive Data
No matter the business, there is a certain set of sensitive data that requires more protection than others. Employee records, credit card information and financial records are all examples of data that needs an extra layer of protection. Make sure that you know exactly where this information is, whether it’s on a private server, computer, laptop or the cloud, and make sure that you have adequate protection at every level.
Controlling who and when certain people can access information is essential if you want to keep your data secure. You should never give anyone in your organization – and that includes your IT administrator – complete access to all your data without restriction. Inside jobs are often perpetrated by IT professionals since they usually have a higher level of access than other members of your organization.
You also have to keep a record of who is using the data, when and how so you can have a trail in case some information is compromised. Limiting access to data also prevents employees from disclosing sensitive information online through social media or any personal device.
Make Sure Your Network is Secure
The easiest way to conduct business if you’re in a small office is through a wireless network. However, wireless networks can be vulnerable and could be accessed if left unsecured. That’s why you have to take extra precautions to prevent attacks.
First, make sure you have a solid network password consisting of at least one uppercase letter, one symbol and one number. This will make it harder for password cracking software to decrypt it. Also make sure that you secure your network using WPA2 encryption instead of WEP.
Speaking of passwords, you should also make sure that you double check passwords across your whole system to make sure they aren’t vulnerable. Too many people get lazy and use passwords like “Password1” because it fills most security system requirements. Make sure you use good passwords across the board and make sure you switch them every few months or so, especially if you have a high employee turnover or work with 3rd party IT services.
Address Data Breaches Immediately
In case you are victim of a cyber-attack, you have to act and act quick. First, you have to address the source of the breach and secure any system or vulnerabilities that may have been the cause.
If you don’t have an IT professional on your payroll, you should consider working with a data forensics team. They will be able to identify the source, scope and exact source of the breach. They will also collect as much evidence as they can and will outline remediation steps. Companies like Secure Data Recovery offer both digital forensics and data recovery services in case some of the data was lost during the breach as well.
Data security is something every small business owner should take very seriously. Not only could it compromise your business’s sensitive information, it could also open you to legal action if personal data is involved.