We live in an age of data. It allows us to offer better services, track our progress, and all-around improve our business internally and externally. However, like most things, it’s not all a bed of roses.
The amount of data in the world is something of a goldmine for would-be criminals, who are forever coming up with new and sophisticated ways to access a company’s data for profit. As such, if you’re a business owner then it’s more important than ever than you take steps to keep your sensitive data out of reach of those with nefarious intentions. But how can you do that? Below, we take a look at a series of actions that’ll help to create more robust protection.
Spot Your Weakness
Before you can figure out how you’re going to tighten up your security, you’ll need to figure out your current weaknesses. So take a look at your present operations, and see where a potential criminal would gain access to your network. If you don’t know what you’re looking for (which is likely, since these things are complicated), then look at hiring a security expert to assess your operations for you. If you haven’t given much thought to your security in the past, then you’ll likely have plenty of gaps that need to be filled.
Update Your Hardware and Software
There was once a time when the ‘enigma code’ was the most sophisticated way of sending messages. It took years for the best minds to crack it. Now, it would take all of a couple of seconds. It’s always a cat and mouse game between security experts and cybercriminals. Data hackers get more advanced, and then the security forces respond, and make their networks more difficult to crack. If you’re using outdated hardware and software, then your machines will be easy to hack — it’ll be the same as cracking the enigma code today. You can’t always be expected to buy new computers and the like, but there’s no reason not to keep that software updated — a big chunk of the update will be security related.
Get Control of Access
If your company has employees, then you’ll need to think carefully about which staff members are able to access what documents and data. Some companies allow all their employees to access all their data, but this is a mistake. The more people there are with access to your data, the greater the chance that someone will cause you harm, or accidentally make a mistake that lets in someone to your network. As such, it’s recommended that you work with a company that offers identity access management. With an IAM managed service integrated into your business, you’ll be able to trust that your information is well-protected. You’ll know that only the people who need to access your most sensitive information are the ones who can do it.
Train Your Employees
Most crime against companies is opportunistic. It’s not the result of someone sitting in a dark room, trying to crack your system and gain access. It’s usually because someone has left the metaphoric front door open, and they’ve just walked through. As such, it’s important that you take the time to train your employees about the best data safeguarding practices, since they’ll be the ones who are most likely to make a fundamental mistake. Things like selecting a strong password, always keeping the laptop secure, and avoiding talking to people outside the company are just three recommend pieces of advice.
There’ll come the time when you need to do a little bit of traveling in order for your company to grow. This could involve taking a flight overseas or across the country, or just taking a taxi to another part of town. Whatever it is, you’ll be out of the office, and that presents its own dangers. For example, while many people light up when they see a free and unsecured WiFi, it’s important that you avoid connecting to it. It makes it incredibly easy for a person to gain access to your information. Save connecting to the WiFi until you’re in secure premises, or back in the office.
It’s much easier to defend yourself if you know what the attackers are going to do. Make a habit of reading up on the latest phishing and cybercrime tactics. Plus, you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to a common scam or attack if you’re continually reading up around the world of cybercrime.
It’s a sad fact of life that the majority of crime against a company happens internally. As such, it’s important that you’re actively monitoring your networks for any usual activity by your employees. But hopefully, it won’t come to that, or at least it won’t if you’re hiring correctly. While most companies only look at a person’s past employers, it’s better if you’re conducting a more thorough background check. If someone doesn’t declare that they’ve been arrested before yet it shows up on their background check, you’ll know that they probably can’t be trusted.
Reduce Your Data Pile
Take a look at the data you’re collecting and storing: is it all necessary? It’s much easier to protect your data if there’s simply less of it. Even if you do reduce your data pile, it’s also a good idea to prune your data every now and again. You really don’t need to keep, say, the details of a customer who hasn’t bought from your company for several years.
Stay on Top
Finally, remember that the fight against cybercrime is never really won! It’s something that needs to be actively managed, updated, reviewed, and so on. There are a lot of advantages to owning a business in the digital age, but the fact of the matter is that it has also presented new opportunities for criminals too. Make sure that you’re making your data security an integral part of your business operations — the risks are too great to have it as an afterthought.