Data breaches can turn into very catastrophic situations for any organization, especially for small establishments that might not be well prepared for such an occurrence. According to a 2015 Symantec Internet Security Report, about 60 percent of all cyber-attacks targeted small enterprises. As an entrepreneur or small-business owner, you can take a number of preventive steps to ensure that your company’s data is safe. The best place to begin is to understand the causes of data breaches and how well to avoid them before serious damage is done.
Most business owners believe that data breaches are mostly instigated by outsiders. While this scenario might be possible, the truth of the matter is that employee mistakes, such as stolen or lost mobile devices or laptops or unknowingly downloading malware, can lead to loss of important data. Start by training your staff members how to better understand these risks to safeguard your enterprise’s data.
The following are some of the safety steps on how to protect your company’s data.
1. Protect your Works Space
Once you step away from your workstation while in middle of a work that involves sensitive data, take necessary precautions to safeguard your data from visitors or staff members who are not cleared to view such information.
Remember the following tips to keep your work booth safe.
- After a meeting, consider cleaning up all written material
- Once you print, copy or fax a document, pick it up immediately
- Keep the most sensitive documents in a secure vault
- Always stay aware of who you allow to use your laptop or mobile device
- Once you step away from your laptop, lock it. You should also consider changing your preference to require your password when waking up the computer
2. Phishing Schemes
Phishing emails are email messages that are sent by hackers and criminals to get your identity, gain authorization to control your work network or steal passwords to access confidential enterprise data. The fake emails usually appear like they are from a trusted entity, such as a vendor or your enterprise’s credit card company. Additionally, phishing messages often come with attachments that you are supposed to download. You should be suspicious of such messages and avoid downloading the attachments.
Below are some of the requirements that you should check before responding to any download requests.
- The email comes from a trusted source
- The message comes from a sender who has sent you emails before
- The email is something you were expecting
- The message does not look odd with unnatural characters and wrong spelling
3. Use Stronger Passwords
Using longer stronger passwords and altering them often makes it harder for hackers to access confidential data. Avoid sharing your data with third parties. Preferably, choose cryptic passwords that are hard to guess but memorable enough for you to remember.
Below are some of the best practices that are used to come up with strong passwords.
- Passwords should not include part of your ID or name
- Passwords ought to be about seven characters long
- Strong passwords often contain characters from two of the following categories: lower case letters, upper case letters, symbols and numbers
4. Stay Aware While Travelling
Portable computing devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, can be easily stolen or lost. Be aware when you attempt to log into secure systems using public Wi-Fi networks so others cannot view your login credentials.
Below are some tips that you should apply when traveling.
- Keep your mobile device with you all the time while at the railway station, airport, or any public area.
- If you are traveling by a motor vehicle, put the computing device in the trunk of the car. Remember to take it with you once you arrive at your destination.
- Avoid storing your backups and passwords with your computing device
- When you move away from your office, keep your organization’s computing devices secure or in your possession.
5. Social Engineering
Social engineers mine data to get what they need. Just like piecing puzzles, they gather small pieces of data from different sources such as your social profiles. Since some people may not be who they claim to be, always check to verify before providing personal information.
Consider the following tips to verify who you might be giving personal information.
- Call the person back using their work phone number
- Send a number or code number to the person’s company and ask the person to call you back with the number
Ensure that you share these tips with other staff members in your company to make sure that your organization’s data is secure.
6. Endpoint Security
The endpoint security definition describes a method of protecting a company’s network when accessed remotely. Endpoint security is created to protect each endpoint on the network created by the remote devices. Endpoint security has grown in popularity over time as more companies hire mobile staff members.
Your organization’s information is a most valuable asset, which means that it is very important that you and your fellow staff members work hard towards keeping it safe. Ensure that you are aware of your organization’s weak points and take the necessary steps to strengthen the weak areas in order to safeguard your entity’s data.