Keep Your Business’ Data Safe: Part I

Data security is crucial for all businesses. According to USA Today, a study by the Ponemon Institute reveals data breaches impacted 43 percent of companies last year. Prevent this growing problem from affecting your business by making data security a top priority for your business.  

The cost of ignoring data security

Data security is not something to put on the back burner. Data breaches can cost your operation quite a bit. Not only is a data breach an expensive problem, but it is also detrimental to your business' reputation, according to SoftwareSpecialists.com. 

The years you have spent building a positive reputation for your operation may be wasted if your operation experiences a data breach. Customer loyalty and trust can quickly evaporate into nothing when personal information is compromised by a hacker. 

With the rise of the Internet, cloud-based technology and mobile device usage in the workplace give criminals more ways to infiltrate systems and gain access to your customers' personal data, as well as your own.

Know what and who is at risk

According to Inc., hackers have a number of targets when they breach a system. The information you relay back and forth with your bank and insurance companies contains a wealth of confidential material hackers may try to access. 

Because there are so many targets, it's important not to attempt to achieve optimal data security on your own. Inc. recommends seeking the help of an internal IT team or an outside vendor to protect your business from hackers. 

And hackers aren’t just targeting larger operations. New and growing businesses are just as susceptible to this type of criminal activity, and smaller businesses are sometimes even more vulnerable because their data security isn't as robust as that of bigger companies. When adopting new technologies, it's crucial to keep security at the forefront of your mind.

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Identify potential threats

Small Business Computing suggests identifying who may threaten the security of your business’s personal data and other information. In some instances, the only threat is an outsider looking to obtain financial information from your customers. However, another potential risk may be a disgruntled employee or someone who was recently terminated. 

To ensure optimal security, consider changing your passwords and only provide data access to individuals who have earned your trust. Someone can easily breach a system if given the passwords used to access personal information. 

Another potential threat is the loss of a mobile device. As more individuals depend on technology to complete their jobs, the risk of smart phones and tablets falling into the wrong hands increases. Be sure any mobile devices with access to important data or customers' personal information are tracked and can be wiped clean remotely. 

Invest in better data security

As a small-business owner, evaluate the current measures you take to ensure optimal security of your data. You may want to enlist the help of a professional to better determine whether your security system is weak or needs to be improved. 

Investing in data security is always a good move. It helps protect you, your business's reputation and your customers’ personal information.