The digital age has brought about new security challenges for most businesses. One of these challenges is ensuring client data does not fall into the hands of cybercriminals such as hackers. The bad news is six out of seven small businesses have not taken any steps to beef up their Internet security, according to a study carried out by AVG, which is an Internet security firm that produces computer antivirus software. If your business is among the six aforementioned businesses, you should rush to secure your company data as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn how you can achieve this goal.
Educate your Employees
The first line of defense against hackers is educating your employees. According to a study carried out by the United States Secret Service and Deloitte, 67% of businesses reported insider data breaches. Most of these breaches are related to the rising popularity of the BYOD (bring your own device) culture. In view of this, it is vital to educate your employees on common tricks employed by hackers to penetrate and compromise data stored onsite as well as online. Better yet, create a company policy that outlines acceptable and non-acceptable online activities such as prohibiting employees from opening suspicious email attachments.
Install Firewalls and Anti-malware Protection
The majority of hackers and scammers rely on spyware to infiltrate company databases and grab client information. A study carried out by Verizon, which is one of the leading telecoms companies in the US, found that nearly 50% of all data breaches carried out by hackers in 2010 involved the use of malware. By installing firewalls and anti-malware protection, you will make it even harder for cybercriminals to penetrate and compromise data stored onsite. These measures typically work by detecting common tricks used by hackers such as spoofing and email phishing.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Another door used by hackers to grab business data is by compromising Wi-Fi networks. To infiltrate Wi-Fi networks, hackers use powerful antennas that are able to scan and penetrate vulnerable networks. Therefore, you need to protect your Wi-Fi network by locking it. To start with, make sure that you disable the service set identifier (SSID) feature on your wireless router. This ensures that no one can even identify and access your Wi-Fi network. Secondly, ensure that you are using a strong data encryption standard (WPA2). Even if hackers manage to access the Wi-Fi network, the encrypted data would be useless to them unless they can find a way to decipher it, which is nearly impossible.
Bolster Physical Security
Even if you spend millions of dollars acquiring the latest anti-hacking software, you should never neglect physical security at your business premises because most hackers normally carry out thorough background research before attempting to infiltrate and steal data from a business. In fact, some even steal servers, laptops, and other devices used to store client data. With this in mind, secure your business premises with deadbolts, and install a surveillance system including CCTV cameras, and motion-activated alarms. Moreover, hire a security guard to patrol the premises at night. These steps are likely to make it harder for criminals to break into your business premises and steal valuable equipment and information.
Back-up Data Offsite
Storing all your client data onsite is never a wise business decision because it is easy to lose all your data in the event of a fire outbreak, natural disaster, or theft by burglars. Secondly, human error can also lead to the loss of data. Thirdly, equipment failure can erase years of hard work collecting and storing information onsite. Back-up and store this information offsite. In case of a data breach, you can use a backed-up copy to continue with daily business operations.
Losing clients’ data to hackers is very likely to have a negative effect on your business. To ensure this does not happen, you need to invest in data security. This includes educating your employees, installing firewalls and anti-malware protection, storing client data offsite, locking your Wi-Fi network, and bolstering physical security onsite.
Author Bio: William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles relating to technology. In this article, he offers information security tips and aims to encourage further study with an information assurance degree online.