As a business owner, you know that data breaches can be costly. In addition to the financial costs, you need to repair your company’s reputation. The consequences of this are dire that small businesses with compromised data are more likely to shut down after six months.
As the world becomes more interconnected, there’s no better time to protect your company’s data from being stolen or compromised than today. Start with these seven tips.
1. Implement a Zero-Trust Policy
Zero-trust security models are becoming more popular as businesses struggle to keep up with the ever-changing security landscape. In this environment, you consider all users suspicious until they’ve proven themselves worthy by authenticating themselves.
The process of implementing this is simple. First, identify your critical data and systems. Then, create a boundary around these assets and require authentication from everyone who wants to access them. This includes your employees, vendors, and partners.
Many IT security firms offer off-the-shelf zero-trust solutions. You can also choose to build your solution in-house using the services of a good cybersecurity consulting firm.
2. Monitor Your Database
Every business that collects customer data has a database. It contains personal information such as addresses, social security numbers, and credit card details.
Breaching your company’s database is the easiest way for hackers to access all the sensitive data in one place. They can then sell it on the dark web or use it to commit fraud, among other crimes.
To protect your database, consider an SQL server performance monitor service. This includes unauthorized access, changes in user behavior, and strange patterns in the data. Have a plan in place for responding to any incidents that may occur.
3. Educate Employees on Security Best Practices
Your employees are your first line of defense against data breaches. They need to be aware of the dangers and know how to protect themselves and your company’s data.
Train them on basic security best practices such as never opening suspicious emails, not clicking on links or downloading attachments, and using strong passwords. You should also require them to use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
You can also provide them with security awareness training videos and quizzes to test their knowledge.
4. Use a Firewall
A firewall is one of the essential components of your cybersecurity arsenal. It’s hardware or software that sits between your internal network and the Internet and blocks unauthorized access. A good firewall will also monitor all traffic going in and out of your network and alert you to any suspicious activity.
You can buy a firewall or use the one that comes with your security software. However, for the best protection, use one specifically designed for businesses.
5. Invest in IT Security Solutions
Your business is only as secure as your weakest link. That’s why it’s essential to invest in IT security solutions that will protect all your systems and data.
These solutions include antivirus software, malware protection, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and web filtering. Update these regularly to keep up with the latest threats. You can either buy these solutions or subscribe to a service that provides them.
Upgrade legacy systems since they are particularly vulnerable to attacks. If you don’t have the resources to manage these systems, outsource their management and maintenance to a reputable IT firm.
6. Use Strong Passwords
One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your systems is using weak passwords. A hacker can easily guess a common password like “password” or “123456.”
To create strong passwords, use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols and make them at least eight characters long. Change them frequently and not use the same password for multiple accounts or sites.
You can create a strong password by using a random passphrase generator, which will generate one at random based on your criteria (e.g., length).
Another option is to buy an enterprise-level password manager that lets you store all your passwords in one place and access them with a single master password.
Finally, you can also use two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.
7. Develop a Clear BYOD Policy
Bringing your own device (BYOD) policies is becoming more popular as companies cut costs. But if it’s not done correctly, employees can end up using devices that aren’t secure or don’t meet your company’s standards for protection against cyberattacks and data theft.
To avoid this, develop a clear BYOD policy that outlines the types of devices allowed, the security measures that must be in place, and what will happen if a device is lost or stolen.
Your policy should also require employees to password-protect their devices and install anti-virus and malware protection. Ensure that your IT department is aware of the procedure and can help enforce it.
In today’s digital age, data breaches have become all too common. But by following these simple tips, you can help protect yourself and your company from becoming the next victim.