According to Trustwave Security Stats, “Sixty-three percent of businesses don’t have a fully mature method to track and control sensitive data.”

Without proper security processes, businesses run the risk of malware attacks, credit card fraud, employee data theft, hackers and more. Don’t let your business’ critical data fall into the wrong hands. Follow these four data security tips.

1. Encrypt Critical Data

Data encryption encodes your company’s sensitive information making it unreadable to outsiders. This enhances other security measures and prevents unauthorized access to messages, files or information if stolen or intercepted by an unauthorized party.

Some systems hosting important data that are commonly encrypted include:

Not all systems or information needs to be encrypted. Before adding this extra layer of protection, work with your IT team to develop the best approach for your business.

2. Back Up and Isolate Information

Always, always, always back up your company’s critical information to prevent data loss. An effective strategy that includes both on-site and off-site redundancy provides protection against a range of threats, including hard drive failure, ransomware, and disasters such as fires and floods.

In addition, consider isolating primary business applications, such as point-of-sale systems, on a network separate from other Internet-enabled applications. Secondary networks provide extra protection by limiting the impact of any one hack.

3. Secure Systems with Passwords

Weak passwords can lead to cyber attacks or breaches. Proper password management is key for company equipment, devices and networks.

Consider the following when creating passwords:

  • Don’t store passwords in browsers for automatic login.
  • Always update default factory passwords when purchasing equipment.
  • Don’t use information that can easily be found online for passwords (i.e. birthdays, company name, addresses, phone numbers).
  • Make passwords difficult to guess by using uppercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Limit password access to only necessary individuals.
  • Be careful when creating and answering “security questions” on websites. Use complex, even nonsensical answers where possible, to prevent hackers from guessing or researching the answers.
  • Never reuse passwords between systems or websites.
  • Store passwords securely, and change them periodically.

4. Educate Employees on Data Security Best Practices

Employees can be one of the top reasons your company’s data is compromised. Reduce the chance of an incident with proper education and training. Instill the following best practices into your employees:

  • Only access company information via secure computers and networks.
  • Do not leave devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, laptops) unattended or unprotected, especially when working outside of the office.
  • Be extremely cautious with attachments and links – even from trusted sources. Don’t open/click unless you were expecting the message.
  • Frequently install system, malware and antivirus software updates.
  • Appropriately protect their own devices in the workplace.
  • Follow your company’s procedures immediately if devices are lost, stolen or compromised.

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