In today’s day and age, businesses have more sensitive information to protect than ever before. From financial records to employee Social Security numbers, the amount of data that needs to be kept secure is staggering.
In the past ten years, security breaches have increased by 67 percent. And the average cost of a data breach is now $3.86 million. From small businesses to large enterprises, no one is immune to the threat of a data breach. As long as sensitive information exists, people will be looking to exploit it. The sad news is that hackers often succeed in their endeavors. And what’s even worse is that most of them are not caught. In fact, only 4 percent of cybercriminals are apprehended.
This means that it’s up to businesses to do everything they can to protect their sensitive information. So, how can you safeguard your business’s sensitive information? Here are six ways to get started.
Keep Only What You Need
The first step in protecting your business’s sensitive information is to keep only what you need. Just because you have a customer’s Social Security number on file doesn’t mean you need to keep it there. If there’s no reason for you to have the information, get rid of it. The less data you have on hand, the less there is to protect.
If possible, limit the amount of sensitive information you collect in the first place. For example, if you’re collecting credit card information, only keep the last four digits of the card number. This way, even if the data is breached, the hacker will only have partial information.
Store Data Securely
Once you’ve determined what data you need to keep, it’s time to start thinking about how you will store it. One of the most important things you can do is encrypt your data. This will make it unreadable by anyone who doesn’t have the key to decode it. It would help if you also considered investing in a reliable backup solution so that your data is never lost in a disaster.
A good backup solution will create copies of your data and store them securely. This way, even if your primary storage system is compromised, you’ll still have access to your data.
Protect Your Network
Another way to protect your business’s sensitive information is to ensure your network is secure. This means using strong passwords, investing in firewall protection, and limiting access to only those who absolutely need it.
You might also want to hire a professional data protection service provider. These experts can help you identify vulnerabilities in your system and take steps to fix them. They have the knowledge and skills in threat detection, prevention, and response.
Train Your Employees
Your employees are one of your greatest assets—but they can also be one of your most significant weaknesses regarding security. Make sure your employees know how to handle sensitive information by providing them with regular training on best practices and company policy. You should also consider implementing security measures like two-factor authentication to further protect your data.
It would also be better if you have policies and procedures in place for handling sensitive data. By doing so, you can be sure that your employees are handling the data properly and in accordance with company policy. This reduces the risk of human error and helps to keep your data safe.
Be Careful With Cloud-Based Services
More and more businesses are using cloud-based services like Google Drive and Dropbox. While these services can be convenient, they also present a security risk if not used properly. Be sure that only authorized employees have access to your cloud-based storage solutions and that all data stored there is encrypted. For example, you can use Google’s Advanced Protection Program to encrypt your data and add an extra layer of security. In addition, be sure to only store data in the cloud that you absolutely need to.
Use Physical Security Measures
In addition to digital security measures, don’t forget about physical security. If you have confidential files or devices containing sensitive information, ensure they’re stored in a secure location where only authorized personnel can access them. This prevents unauthorized individuals from getting their hands on your data and helps to keep it safe. You should also consider using security measures like alarms and CCTV cameras to deter would-be thieves. A CCTV can also help you monitor and detect unusual activity near your premises.
Implementing these seven security measures will help you protect your business’s sensitive information from threats, both internal and external. By keeping only what you need, storing data securely, and training your employees on best practices, you can rest assured knowing that your data is safe and sound.