Any business can be vulnerable to a cyberattack at any point. While data breaches happen more often to larger businesses, even small businesses can be attacked. Ensuring that you have the correct security measures in place can protect both your and your customer’s data from being stolen. Protecting sensitive information should always be a priority in your business. That’s why your data security should be to the highest possible standard.
Issues with data can range from leaks to data remanence, to data corruption. There are also legal practices of data protection that need to be followed. Make sure that you are following lawful procedures when processing user data.
Managing your data against potential risks can be difficult to get the hang of, but it’s a vital skill to learn. Luckily, there are quite a few things that you can do to ensure that your sensitive information is kept secure and protected. Consider adding these helpful tips to your security strategy.
Strong and Secure Passwords
Common passwords that refer to a personal fact or interest can be easy to break, leading to security breaches. If you want to keep your data secure, then passwords should usually include the following:
- At least 12 characters
- Capital letters
There are security tools and add-ons that you can add to your browser that can generate secure passwords for you. They can also store these passwords, but in that case, you should make sure the master password for the security tool is stored elsewhere.
Make sure each different login uses a different password. If there is ever a data breach (For example, the password for your email gets leaked) this will mean that you would only have to change that one password, instead of changing them all.
Secondly, encrypting certain files on your operating system and personal devices that contain sensitive data can help with protecting your data. Wi-Fi should also be encrypted so to avoid potential risks.
Emails and Malicious Links
A common mistake people make is with their emails. Scammers and hackers can send malicious emails that may seem legitimate, asking for personal information to help with an unknown purchase or for a supposed log-in to your accounts. There are usually some tell-tale signs of a malicious email:
- Bad spelling and grammar
- A strange email address
- Asking you to act urgently
- Payment requests
If a malicious email gets past your junk folder, be on the lookout for these signs. It is also good practice to never clink on a link within an email that you are unsure about.
File Encryption and Access.
While encrypting files is certainly a good step to maintain data security, access to the files should still be limited within your business. The amount of data that any employee should have access to should be limited to what they need to have access to. Each department should only have access to relevant information for them.
Backing up Your Data
A common first step is to back up your data. Firstly, always save work regularly. In the event of a crash, you can ensure that your progress is saved. You should also find a secondary place to back up your data as well. External storage such as a USB can work for this, but cloud storage is usually the preferred method of backing up data. Set a schedule for periodic back-ups to ensure all data is kept up to date.
This way, if your storage is destroyed or lost, you have an off-site backup readily available
Safety When Working Remotely
Because of the pandemic, working from home has become normalised. This means that your home security needs to be just as secure as your workplace security. Make sure to have antivirus and firewall software installed on your home computer before accessing sensitive data.
Antivirus and Firewalls
A good antivirus can protect your computer and systems from attacks, while a firewall can protect you against potentially malicious websites and emails. These should be some of the first things installed on a computer. You should also regularly run antivirus scans on your systems.
Keeping antivirus and firewalls up to date is good practice for cyber security.
Data Cleansing and Disk Checking
When it comes to clearing away old or unwanted data, you need to be thorough. If you are disposing of old hardware, ensure that the hardware is completely wiped so that nothing can be recovered.
Even after data is deleted and removed from the recycling bin, it can still exist. This is called data remanence. There is data wiping software that can completely remove data from your computer, keeping it secure against third parties. You should use this software regularly to keep your data safe.
When large files are deleted, it can affect how well your files are stored and how your hard drive runs. Running a periodic disk check on your computer will optimise your hard drive, ensuring that it is running optimally.
Data security should always be a priority for any business, no matter what size. Every business should put together a security strategy as part of their business plan. Always make sure that your data is encrypted, both the original and the backup. Keep security software up to date along with passwords, and always practice good data hygiene.
Understanding technology and data security take research and practice, but it is worth the effort. If you follow these basic tips, then you should have a good idea of how to keep your data safe. Sometimes data breaches are unavoidable, but these tips can keep you as secure as possible and prevent the worst from happening.