As a business owner, it is of crucial importance that you do everything in your power to prevent the loss of data. It is vital to ensure the smooth-running of your business and it is also a legal obligation.
Studies show that a small business could lose up to $45,000 following a data breach, due to fines, disruption of work and additional costs required to restore the data and get the systems back up to speed. This sort of outlay could seriously hamper your business and, in many cases, lead to bankruptcy. This can reach the hundreds of thousands of pounds for larger companies, with fines relating to data breaches rising to as much as $600,000.
The cost of data breaches is predicted to rise to $6 trillion by 2021, with firms expected to invest more than $1 trillion to prevent the loss of data in that time. This shows that understanding data security and implementing data protection best practices should be one of your top priorities as a business owner.
Here are some of the most effective ways to secure your data:
Encrypt Your Emails
Encrypting your emails is a necessary step to safeguard your business data. Encryption ensures that your emails and the important information that they contain cannot be accessed by any third parties.
There are many financial institutions, hospitals, tech companies, insurance providers and smaller organisations that have started using software to encrypt their emails over the past few years. Email encryption solutions are simple to use and they benefit from integration with the most popular email clients.
Establish an Official Data Security Policy
By taking the time to establish an official data security policy for your business, you can ensure that all of your staff members, as well as partners, agencies and service providers, are educated on how to deal with business data.
It is also a good idea to investigate what measures your partners and service providers have taken to secure your data. Don’t take it for granted that a provider is up to date with their data protection, ask them what processes they follow and take the bold step of changing provider if you are not satisfied with their response. Considering how expensive a data breach could become, the cost of moving is a worthwhile investment.
Ensure Your Data is Backed-up
If your computer or server is attacked by hackers, there is a good chance that your data could be compromised. That is why it is of the utmost importance to keep your critical data backed-up. This way you can recover your information from the back-up source and get your systems running again with minimal delay.
Cloud storage is a great way to back-up your data because it is seamless and updates automatically. However, it is wise to also keep another couple of hard back-ups on physical storage devices, such as external hard drives, to protect your data in case of ransomware attacks.
Ransomware involves hackers infecting your computer with crippling malware that locks your system until a payment is made. However, if you keep all of your data offline in an external hard drive, it is possible to restore your systems without giving in and paying the hacker. It is important that once your data is restored, you remove the back-up device to prevent that being targeted.
Install Dedicated Data Loss Prevention Software
It is possible to install sophisticated, dedicated software designed to protect sensitive business information and empower users to remediate incidents in real-time. These products help to monitor data movement and educate your employees to work within the required regulations and industry standards. By alerting users ahead of certain activities, it is possible to pre-empt data breaches and ensure the smooth-running of your business.
It is said that humans are often the weakest link in your cyber security processes, so educating staff is one of the most effective methods of securing your data. Regular training can help to keep employees on top of things, but dedicated warning systems are equally important.
Companies like Checkpointdirect.co.uk can help install dedicated data loss prevention software.
Update Your Software and Systems
One of the easiest and most important data loss prevention techniques is the simple task of setting your devices and software to update automatically. Ignore system updates at your peril, because each new software version includes vital protection against weaknesses that have been identified by hackers.
Select a recurring time each week to update all of your systems and check that all of your staff have also updated their smartphones, tablets, laptops, operating systems and applications.