The technological revolution has transformed the way we conduct business, but it has also brought with it several new challenges and risks. One of the biggest of these challenges is the topic of data protection in an online world seemingly swarming with hackers, fraudsters and cyber-criminals. A data breach (when an unauthorized person accesses confidential information about your business or your customers) can have disastrous consequences in more ways than one. If you don’t ensure that the proper cybersecurity systems, policies, and procedures in place, you are leaving yourself open to operational, financial and reputational damage.
While some businesses find the concept of cybersecurity difficult to grasp, the reality is that there are some very simple steps you can take to minimize the risk of a cyber attack on your workplace data.
Invest in the Best Protection
To prevent hackers from being able to access your data via the internet, you need to invest in anti-malware and anti-virus protection software for your network, as well as a firewall. It will create a barrier between your data and unauthorized people, but you need to ensure updates are carried out regularly as these can fix weaknesses in previous versions.
Many data breaches are caused by simple human error by an employee, so it’s essential that all of your staff are regularly trained in data security. For example, they should know how to identify email phishing scams and not open suspicious attachments. Your business should have a data security policy which outlines all of your security procedures.
Check for Risks & Vulnerabilities Regularly
Both technology and business are continually evolving but, unfortunately, often not as quickly as the cybercriminals. Just because a security system is adequate today does not mean that attackers will not find a way around it next week. This is why you should be carrying out risk assessments and checking for potential vulnerabilities regularly.
Make Passwords Secure
Your passwords need to be as secure as possible. It’s a simple point, but often one which is not taken seriously. Aside from the risks involved in using popular passwords such as ‘password 123’ or personal information, hackers have tools which can guess passwords in a matter of minutes. These are called Brute Force Attacks as a computer will automatically run through thousands of variations of letter/number combinations. You and your employees should be using passwords which are as complex as possible and changed regularly to minimize the risks.
Restrict Employee Access
To minimize the risk of an employee accidentally causing a data breach or security issue, it’s a good idea to restrict information access to a ‘need-to-know’ basis. It means each employee can only access the data they need to carry out their role.
Security for Mobile Devices & Flexible Workers
More and more people are using smartphones, laptops, USB drives and tablets for work and as these devices are often taken off-site. This means there is an increased likelihood that the device could fall into the wrong hands, so you need to make sure that they are adequately protected should this happen. This is usually referred to as Endpoint Security or Endpoint Protection. McAfee offers a popular Endpoint Security product for businesses of all sizes; visit www.mcafee.com for more information.
While we’re mainly focused on cyber-attacks in this article, it’s also important to mention the importance of physical security of your business premises such as CCTV, entry code access. If an unauthorized person is able to access your offices, any physical data you have is compromised, and there’s a chance they will be able to log on to your network, especially if your passwords are not secure.
Destroy Data Securely
Sometimes it will be necessary to destroy old data. It could be information which is stored electronically or physically, but either way, you need to ensure you’re disposing of it securely. Use a professional shredding service to get rid of your old paperwork as you’ll be given proof that the information has been destroyed.