Small businesses are the most targeted entities in cyber-attacks because of various reasons. These companies do not invest in the best data protection methods and they lack a budget to support such activities. In addition to that, most of them do not understand the importance of securing data that they collect from customers.
In this highly-digitized age, you can equate data to currency; it should be protected from a wide variety of risks. For small businesses, securing customer data should be a priority because it cushions them from various legal cases. That is the reason these companies should always train their customers on the best ways to prevent cyber-attacks.
This article looks at some of the most effective ways to protect customers from fraud and other crimes that arise from cyber-attacks.
Get the Right Data Protection Software
You need the right tools to protect data because not every product you find in the market is useful. If you search the markets, you will get lots of software that help you keep various treats at bay. They include the following:
Regardless of the software that you are looking for, the most important thing is to ensure that it has enough features to protect your data. You also need to ensure that it can be customized to shield against emerging threats. In a world where technology is evolving fast, you never know the threats you will be dealing with tomorrow.
Encrypt Your Data
According to these tips from Decibel.com, data risk management cannot be successful without proper encryption. This technique involves the coding of information so that it can only be accessed by a user who has permission to do so. Usually, the parties that are allowed to access such data are those that have a special key assigned to them.
The best way to encrypt data is to enforce it on both ends. For instance, if you are sending information, you have to make sure that both the sender and the receiver have the special key to access it. By doing so, you ensure that any other party that tries to view such data will be denied access.
Secure Your Network
Another way through which small businesses can secure customer data is to ensure that it is only shared through secure networks. Sometimes, these companies opt to share servers because it is the option that suits their small budgets. However, numerous risks are associated with such an arrangement, and that is the reason you should go for something more secure.
Dedicated servers are the best option for this purpose because they are only used by your company. The only people who can access them are your employees and you. As a result, you can store and share data without worrying about the possibility of a fraudster viewing it.
Securing Data With Strong Passwords
Employees and other users often use passwords to restrict access to materials that should not be shared by everyone. However, they sometimes create weak passwords that make it easy for other people to hack and access the data. Therefore, you need to start by ensuring that you have strong passwords.
Stop creating those four-digit passwords that someone can guess without having to think too hard. Studies have shown that longer passwords are more difficult to hack than shorter ones. In addition to that, you should move from creating passwords that comprise common words and, include random symbols and numbers for better customer data protection.
Only Store the Data That You Need
It may be tempting to keep all the data that you have worked with because you feel that you may need it one day. However, there is no doubt that once you are done with some information, it becomes useless. It is important to dump it so that it does not keep showing on your hard disks or servers where anyone can see it.
Keep in mind that even though this data is no longer useful, it contains a lot of information related to your business. By keeping it in your systems, you make it easy for someone to view and use it for various purposes. You can make it difficult for them by ensuring that they cannot find it anywhere in your systems.
Always Destroy Data Before Dumping
Dumping data after using it is not enough to prevent fraudsters from accessing it. You may be baffled to find out that a majority of cyber-attacks originate right from your dumpster. If you are disposing of hard copies of information, you are likely to leave a lot of confidential data in the alleys, and this means that your security will be at risk.
The only solution to this problem is to destroy data before dumping. If it is on hard copies, you may consider shredding or burning them before you dump them. If they are soft copies, you have to make sure that they are destroyed and inaccessible even through data recovery.
Lock Data Physically
You also should think about physical ways to secure your data because not all attacks originate online. Even though this information will end up online, it can originate from some of your offline data storage systems. For instance, if you do not lock your certificates, receipts, agreements, and other documents in a safe place, you will lose information.
Keep portable media such as USB drives and company cell phones safely when they are not in use. If they are remaining at the office when the employees go home, make sure that they are secure. These devices can expose your company network’s vulnerability and lead to lots of problems.
Hire an Expert for Small Business Customer Data Protection
After knowing various ways to secure customer data for your small business, you need to work with an expert to implement them. This is because securing data is not something that you can take lightly. Find a professional with experience in protecting companies such as yours and let them install the best systems to protect your information.
If you loved reading this article, find more educative posts about cybersecurity on our website.