Generating, collecting, and storing data has become increasingly indispensable for running a business. Unfortunately, hacking incidents have also been on the rise. Expert white hat ethical hackers warn that cybercriminals target businesses of all sizes and scope to get access to their data with a special focus on Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Companies need customer details to provide services, but the cost of data breaches ran up to a total of $2 trillion in the year 2019. A single hacking incident has the potential to wipe out a company, which is why it has become critical to adopt cutting-edge data protection. Here are a few of the most effective solutions you can use.
1. Ensure that Your Website is Secure
Customer data and sensitive credit card information travel to different locations before being used to to finalize transactions. Websites provide details about products, receive orders, process payments, and finally, companies ship to the customer address. You can secure the data passing through your website by ensuring that you have SSL certification and HTTPS protocols. SSL encryption converts the data into a blob of meaningless code that has no value for any hacker. Alternatively, you can use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to secure customer information.
If, like many companies, you connect with customers over social media platforms, you must safeguard that part of your digital presence also. Opting for professional social media management can ensure that you know where those safeguards should be applied.
2. Store Data in Encrypted Form
Any data that customers provide are stored in different forms on your company disk drives. You must secure this information from phishing, data breaches, and the possibility of reaching hackers through discarded hardware. You can ensure data protection by encrypting it until needed again. Install password managers that help create and retrieve robust passwords and login credentials. As a result, you won’t need to share sensitive data with multiple users in the company or with third-party service providers. Cybersecurity is easier to maintain when fewer people have access to the data.
3. Infuse Efficiency into Authentication and Authorization Processes
Sharing usernames and passwords among the company employees makes it exceedingly difficult to track unauthorized access. To start with, it is critical to maintain audit logs to track the users who opened the records. Secondly, companies must ensure that the systems can be accessed so that the business continues to function. To prevent the possibility of lockouts when attempting to deter hackers, assign at least two responsible administrators who can take care of all essential processes. Restrict information about the credentials to a few high-level employees only.
4. Store Backups of Data at Secure, Off-Site Locations
Creating backups of company data is a critical failsafe measure for protection against a range of disasters. Storage methods are typically in the form of semiconductor chips, magnetic tapes, and laser “pits” that can be destroyed easily. Fires, sprinkler systems, short circuits, and electrical surges can crash computers and hard drives. The possibility of the hardware reaching the end of its life cycle and failing is a very real possibility. For this reason, you need to have a reliable backup plan that is immune to human error and compliant with your state’s data protection laws and regulations. Choose a secure offsite location, preferably not on the cloud to safeguard the data in encrypted form.
5. Protect Your Company Systems by Installing Virtual Network Computing (VNC)
Small businesses attempt to keep costs down by hiring remote workers or permitting employees to bring in and work on their own devices (BYOD). If this is your company policy, install Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and permit workers to access only through this secure system. Configure the VNC to disallow file transfers and since these networks don’t really connect with the company servers, you can ensure cybersecurity. If employees are using their own devices, get a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system that can locate a missing device, and wipe data from a remote location, in case of an emergency.
Ensuring data protection and securing information that passes through your company networks is a complicated process. With hackers developing new strategies and malware to break into your systems, you’ll need to stay one step ahead of them. Stay updated with the latest cybersecurity protocols and upgrade your websites and social media pages. The added cost will be well worth the protection from the possibility of significant losses from data breaches.