2017 marked the year that data surpassed oil in value, making it the most valuable resource in the world. This makes data breaching a growing threat in today’s online world, especially for businesses and their business that is conducted primarily online. Everyone leaves a digital trail when purchasing clothes, paying bills, going to the doctor, etc. If others get a hold of where you’ve been, what you buy, and what you want they can use it in a million different ways without your consent. If you own a business that’s run via the internet, the risks become even higher.
As a business owner, you want your customers to trust your company with their personal and financial information. Most businesses require some sort of email, home address, or account number to interact with their website or purchase their products. This type of data can be some of the most sensitive information for consumers. After reading this article, your business will have the ultimate data breach checklist to help respond to data breaches.
- Protect The Data Itself
Many organizations focus mainly on external security such as firewalls and around the clock cybersecurity because it seems like the largest ongoing threat. There is a certain amount of truth to that, there are hundreds of potential ways to circumvent a firewall. Customers, suppliers, and employees have the ability to bypass exterior cyber-security and misuse the user’s sensitive data. This is why it’s equally important to ensure that your security is focused around the data itself, not just the perimeter.
Its often easy to identify threats that originate from outside your company, but unfortunately, the reality is that it’s the insiders that can potentially hurt your business the most. In addition, these types of threats are often the hardest to identify and prevent. A data breach can be as simple as an employee clicking on an email response they believe is coming from a reliable source, but instead, it releases a ransomware virus into your system. This can lead to data misuse and ethical issues within the company. Furthermore when a data breach occurs there are certain reporting requirements business owners must follow to keep their customers informed about their data.
- Encrypt Your Data
As more and more people are choosing to conduct work on their personal or mobile devices, how does your company plan on ensuring that these devices are trustworthy? One word – encryption. Encrypting is the process of protecting data by using a ‘secret’ code to scramble the information so it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the key code to decrypt it. With vast amounts of personal data being managed online and in the cloud, it’s nearly impossible to do any kind of business without data ending up in a networked computer system. With hacking being a huge money-making business your company needs to take the correct measurements to ensure your consumer’s data is protected.
- Test Your Security
A lot of companies think that installing an antivirus on every computer or device will protect their data from malicious actions, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Recent data breaches have shown that hiring a professional organization to conduct regular security audits will reveal weaknesses that you weren’t expecting. Many employees even have their device’s password written down near their business computer. The best way to avoid using a data breach response checklist is to prevent a data breach from happening! I encourage you to hire experienced professionals to test your business’s IT security before things get out of hand.
- Spend More Time & Money On Cybersecurity
Sometimes there’s no way to beat around the bush and accomplish something besides some good ole time and effort. You can try different tips and DIY ways to perfect your data security but there is no better way to ensure your customer’s protection than in the hands of certified professionals. Many CIOs have admitted that spending more money and more time on data security is an absolute must for running a successful business. Many big companies have sensitive data to protect and data breaches continue to be the number one risk to their infrastructure. If your company chooses to take extra security measures with their sensitive online information you won’t regret it.
- Establish Strong Passwords
This section seems like something I shouldn’t have to mention, but nevertheless it’s a very important part. Many organizations are still employing relaxed password policies which lead to simple, generic passwords that are easy to hack. Passwords for critical accounts need to be as strong as possible so hackers can’t gain access to sensitive and valuable data. Implementing employees to make strong passwords is the first step your company can take to strengthen the security in this area. You should never use passwords containing “12345” or “password1” or write them down for other people to find. Furthermore, businesses should change their passwords at least every 90 days to avoid hackers.
- Implement A Company-Wide Security Mindset
Every employee who has a password and username is responsible for keeping data secure. IT administrators must periodically remind their managers and employees that they cannot share any login information with outside parties. Data security is everyone’s job and is not limited to a handful of IT employees. A lot of the time employees don’t know the sensitivity of the data they have access to, meaning they aren’t guarding their passwords with enough intensity. As a business owner, you should inform your employees about the importance of security in order to avoid reporting a data breach because of requirement laws.
Hopefully, by now you understand the importance of constant cybersecurity and plan on protecting your business & it’s customers! A data breach response checklist is the best way to manage your company’s cybersecurity on a daily basis. You should always take the necessary precautions needed to secure your data, however, the only way to ensure overall security is to hire an experienced professional to manage your online data. There is too much risk associated with owning mass amounts of online data without the proper security measures, and as a business owner, you are better safe than sorry.