Did you know that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million? You might think that as a small business owner, you’re safe from these attacks. But the reality is, cybercriminals go for small businesses just as much as they do larger corporations.
Can your business afford to pay millions of dollars to rectify a data breach? Probably not. In fact, most security breaches are enough to shut down companies for good.
For this reason, data security should be something you take very seriously. With the proper measures in place, you’ll be able to fend off common attacks that usually topple businesses.
In this article, we’ll discuss 8 data security tips that every business owner needs to know.
1. Have Firewalls and Antivirus Programs
Firewalls regulate traffic that comes in and out of your network. Thus, it can prevent unauthorized access from malicious actors. As you can see, it’s absolutely necessary that you have active firewalls so not just anyone can get into your network.
Not only that, but you also need to have a robust antivirus program on all devices, including smartphones and tablets! In case any malicious activity gets through your firewalls, good antivirus software will catch it and prevent it from doing damage.
2. Keep Programs Updated
You’re probably familiar with the popups on your screen that ask you to update your programs before proceeding. And like many other people, you’re probably guilty of clicking “later” so you can continue on with your work.
But that’s a huge mistake! You see, software developers are always working on ways to plug up vulnerabilities in their programs, which hackers exploit. By installing updates ASAP, you’ll be stopping cybercriminals dead in their tracks before they can try anything on your network.
3. Password Protect Your Wi-Fi
No matter if it’s just you in the office or 50 members of staff, it’s vital that you password protect your Wi-Fi. This gives you complete control over who accesses your network.
Even better is to have 2 separate networks: one for employees and one for clients and visitors. That way, should the visitor Wi-Fi network be compromised, it won’t affect your business network at all. And of course, you should password protect both networks to limit access.
4. Limit Physical Access
People nowadays are so focused on digital data that when it comes to how to keep your data secure, they forget about the physical aspect!
What you’ll want to do not just limit online access for people, but also the physical as well. Have locks on all doors and only give keys to those who need direct access for work.
Have a clean desk policy where nobody leaves any essential pieces of paper on their desks where visitors can potentially see. Also, have your employees get into the habit of locking their computers when they walk away so no one can gain access, if even if they’re just going away for a few minutes.
5. Back Up Your Data
Ransomware will lock up your computer and prevent you from accessing files. You usually have to pay an amount in Bitcoin for the hacker to release your device; or so they say they will.
Eliminate this danger by backing up your data regularly. In the event of malware or a natural disaster (like a fire or flood), you’ll have a recent copy of your data that you can retrieve and work from.
6. Use Strong Passwords
Hackers can use something called brute force attacks to basically try and guess at people’s passwords. Needless to say, if you have an easy one (such as the name of your dog and your birth year), your password will be terribly easy to crack.
What you want to do is use strong passwords that don’t use dictionary words; random strings of letters, numbers, and symbols (if possible) are some of the strongest passwords you can have.
Not only should you have strong passwords, but you need to vary them from site to site. Think about it this way: you wouldn’t want one key to unlock a bunch of your locks. When you have different passwords for each account, it’ll be much harder for a cybercriminal to take 1 successfully-cracked password and apply it to all accounts to gain access.
It might be hard to remember all your passwords in this case, especially if they’re random strings of letters, numbers and symbols. In this case, you should use a password manager. Not only can these generate strong passwords for you, but they can also store them safely in an encrypted fashion and autofill the appropriate pages when needed.
7. Enable Multifactor Authentication
If a hacker successfully guesses your password, they’re usually immediately in your account. But if you have multifactor authentication on, they’ll hit a roadblock!
While many programs now have 2-factor verification like SMS, phone call, or email verification, you can take it one step further with LogMeOnce authentication. You can use things like selfies and fingerprints to verify that you’re indeed the true owner of the account you’re trying to log into.
8. Provide Employee Training
Your employees are actually the first line of defense when it comes to business security. All the above won’t be needed if they can successfully detect any fishy activity.
Consider hiring a chief security officer to brief your office regularly and to provide data security training and testing.
Take Data Security Seriously
If you haven’t been doing much for your business’s data security, it’s time to start now. Put our tips into practice and you’ll mitigate a lot of risks.
While it might take some time and effort to implement everything, we promise that it’s all worth it in the end. It just might literally save your company from shutting its doors thanks to a data breach! So make this small investment of time and money to secure your business’s future.
Ready to take a step towards better password security? Then sign up for our password manager now!