Anything can happen to a business, no matter its size or scale. On the abysmal list of potential dangers to businesses lies the ultimate threat of the digital age we live in—cybercriminal activity. The leading cybersecurity practices of today are essential for all businesses that utilize online networks and store virtual data. Information security can make or break a business, as it can affect trust. If criminals leak or steal private information, then your business can expect a loss of revenue, a loss of customers or clients, and damage to your organization’s image, depending on the industry.
Let’s take a closer look at a few practices to adopt to ensure operational continuity and allow you to defend yourself against a possible cyber threat. Here are the best data security practices for businesses.
Encryption, Programs, and Software
Without a doubt, encryption is a fundamental safeguarding step for securing sensitive information. Encryption is the imperative initiative to take when you want to create a true data fortress. Cybercriminals these days are clever and tricky, meaning there’s a greater need to utilize many protective measures. By doing so, nobody can sneak in through the back door and access private data.
Encrypt all devices and any stored data, emails, file systems, and information on USBs with proper tools. Utilize software- or hardware-based firewalls and install up-to-date anti-virus programs for extra layers of device security. Don’t forget about software updates and authentication systems either, as these are some of the best data security practices for businesses.
Enforce Safe Password Protection
Having password policies seems like common sense, but the fact of the matter is that over half the data breaches today occur due to weak, lost, or stolen passwords. Yes, continuously changing passwords is a pain. But the use of weak or repetitive passwords leaves the company, employee, and client information vulnerable. Secure passwords throughout your workplace and ensure your staff does the same.
Protect any employee device that can access the company network with a strong password, especially in a patient-based field. Data breaches are one of the top risks leading to HIPAA violations. Without proper encryption, hackers can access a patient’s PHI. For other industries, protecting personal information, such as credit card numbers, is equally important. Strong passwords should always use upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Furthermore, users should update them every 60 to 90 days.
Ensure Proper Disposal Methods
You wouldn’t dispose of documents that comprise your own financial or personal security in the trash, and the same concept applies to digital data. Whether you’re cleaning out your computer or getting rid of damaged or broken devices, prioritize the proper disposal of stored information. Ensure that hard drives are unreadable, that you destroy any sensitive or crucial data on devices, and that cybercriminals or thieves can’t recover the data again. While no person can completely eliminate the possibility of a data breach, security is a moving target that you must continuously strive to achieve. Proper preparation is protective prevention.