The digital age has brought businesses a number of technological advances that make it easier to store and share data, communicate, run a business, make purchases, and touch just about every other area of our lives. Unfortunately, this also raises the risks that the sensitive information contained within electronic documents can be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
We have seen numerous data breaches break headlines where thousands of people’s personal information was hacked or leaked. This guide demonstrates a few ways you can keep your electronic data safer, so you can better protect your vendors, employees, and customers.
Change Passwords Often
Anytime you get a new device or computer, the machine will come with a default username and password that has been set by the manufacturer. Many devices and accounts you acquire will come with automated login information that allows you to sign in for the first time. This information should be changed immediately upon your first use of the device or account. Afterwards, you should change passwords on a regular basis or use password management and security services as a means of ensuring unauthorized personnel can’t gain access to your data.
Update Physical Servers
On-site servers that store sensitive data should be frequently updated with the latest version of your cybersecurity software. Each new advance in cybersecurity motivates hackers to look for new ways to gain access to commercial and individual servers. This is a continuously revolving cycle that will leave you at risk if you’re not updating your security software. Just as you should require your employees to change their passwords every 30 days, you should also be updating your server’s cybersecurity on a monthly basis.
Make Use of a Managed Private Cloud Account
You can use a managed private cloud as your server host to store sensitive data and manage the backend of your IT without exposing private personal information for public access. This allows you to store sensitive data in a digital account as a backup, while also making this information available to the employees who may need the information. This type of account has multiple layers of protection, requiring a password for access and encrypting the data that’s transmitted to prevent people outside the organization from gaining access.
When an employee, partner, or vendor terminates their involvement with your business, there should be a system in place for immediately invalidating their computer access. Additionally, remote workers should be required to enter a username and password, followed by a second password that’s changed more frequently. These protocols will help you ensure only currently authorized personnel have access to your digital files.
Assign a Social Media Manager
Designating a single person to manage your business’ social media accounts will also help you keep your data secure. The social media manager should be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement and should understand what information stored in the managed private cloud account is designated confidential. This will help guide them in making acceptable posts that promote the business without exposing it to risk.
Encrypt Financial Transactions
Providing a way to buy your products online can help you attract more customers, allowing your business to grow much faster. However, many credit card companies, such as Visa USA and MasterCard International, Inc., require that financial transactions be encrypted to help protect consumer data from hackers. If you’re unsure about the process of installing encryption software, you can hire an IT company to install it for you, or you can use established payment processing companies, such as PayPal.
Keeping up to date with the latest cybersecurity practices will help you protect your business and the sensitive data it collects. Since this information can affect people outside of your organization, it’s important to develop an effective strategy for guarding against the dangers that hackers and other cybercriminals pose.