If you are the owner of a small medium enterprise (SME), do you offer your customers products or services via an eCommerce store or other webs application technology? If so, you’re probably aware that the nature of any online transaction forces you into to gather and store clients’ data even if you don’t want to.

How can you ensure that your customer’s personal data is kept secure? In other words, what data security measures and best practices should you implement?

What is data security or cybersecurity?

Before we look at a few data security best practices for small businesses, let’s look at a succinct definition of both terms:

Data Security

According to Techopedia.com, “data security refers to protective digital privacy measures that are applied to prevent unauthorized access to computers, databases and websites.” In other words, the data security model aims to implement measures that protect stored data from corruption, and from illegal access.


According to Techtarget.com, essentially, cybersecurity is the “protection of all Internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyberattacks.

At first glance, the two terms may be confused. However, there is a subtle difference: data security explicitly targets the protection of data stored on computer servers, while cybersecurity zones in on the preservation of all hardware and software applications that are connected online.

Cybersecurity best practices

Let’s take a look at the top five best practices for small businesses in 2019:

Prevent attacks before they happen

Research by Steve Morgan, editor-in-chief of Cybersecurity Ventures in his article titled “Global Ransomware Damage Costs Predicted to Exceed $8 Billion In 2018,” has predicted that “ransomware will attack a business every 14 seconds by the end of 2019.” He then goes on to state that costs across the globe of these attacks are expected to reach $11.5 billion in 2019 and onwards.

Therefore, it makes sense both from a reputational and financial perspective to pre-empt these attacks.

Implement the GDPR and other global data compliance regulations

Global data security compliance regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, are designed to provide a set of rules and protocols to ensure that consumer data is sufficiently protected to reduce the risk of data breaches.

Implement advanced intelligent tools to prevent attacks

Modern digital-trust tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning to hunt down cyberthreats. Because they are self-learning, they have the ability to prevent cyberattacks by locking down open ports on the business’s computer networks and servers.

Update your business’s security model

It is vital to ensure that your company’s cyber and data security model is kept up to date. As security best practices and technologies improve, so do hackers’ tools. In other words, it’s a constant struggle between both sides to keep data secure and to steal data respectively.

Implement a Data-Loss Prevention strategy

While most data breaches come from outside a company’s network, the threat of insider-theft is also a valid concern. It is crucial to protect sensitive data from being stolen by people within the company’s secure network. In order to prevent this potential threat, there are software applications that use a set of user-defined business rules to protect critical data so that it cannot be removed or shared by unauthorised users.