Data security tips to keep your business information safe
With an increase in ransomware and other digital threats, the importance of securing company data has never been greater. Follow these seven security tips to help protect your business, employees, and customers.
1. Be aware of potential risks
Keep abreast of scam trends in your area and utilize helpful resources from legitimate sources including:
2. Look closely at unsolicited emails or calls
When answering suspicious calls, be wary of speaking confirmation words such as “yes” in response to any questions. Some scammers may record your voice response and use it to enroll your business in costly services.
Whether or not you know the person or business, if you receive an unusual request for sensitive company or customer information, confirm the legitimacy of the email or phone call by contacting the company using a valid source such as a phone number on the company's website.
3. Educate your employees on security precautions
Create a technology and security guide for your employees that includes:
Company security measures
Email security protocols (e.g., don’t click on links in suspicious emails)
Guidelines on keeping work and personal devices separate
Internet usage policies
Remote access procedurs
Mandatory training on all policies and procedures
Publish the security guide for all employees, and consider making IT security a standing topic in staff meetings to reinforce its importance. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers a free template to create a customized cybersecurity planning checklist for your business.
4. Back up your files
Frequent and complete encrypted backups help protect your business from scammers who may attempt to extort your data using ransomware.
Use an easily accessible, secure system. Reputable cloud service providers should have strong safeguards in place to help protect customer data and privacy.
5. Keep records — and take proper care of them
Maintain detailed records of purchases to catch phony invoices and fraudulent credit card charges right away.
When storing records — particularly sensitive information — limit access and ensure those individuals with access clearly understand security protocols.
Take extra care when transmitting sensitive company or customer information via email. When emailing sensitive information, ensure the message is encrypted so that unauthorized individuals or organizations cannot view the data.
When it comes time to dispose of records, shred paper records and completely delete digital files.
6. Keep your systems safe and up to date
Keep your anti-virus software and firewall current, and update all security patches regularly.
Enable pop-up blockers, since pop-up windows can be an entry point for ransomware.
Password-protect your Wi-Fi and other internal networks.
7. Follow industry and government standards
Your company may have additional security system requirements and procedures to follow based on your company size, activity, and industry. Some helpful resources include:
ISACA — an organization that supports risk management and information security professionals
Every day small business owners accumulate a lot of important data, including company bank and credit card accounts, employee records, customer information, and proprietary business intelligence. Protect your small business with a data security plan that keeps information safe.
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