If asked to list its most valuable assets, every modern business currently in existence should include its data on that list. This is part of the reason that data security should be treated as a priority. We know—this isn’t exactly a small ask, so to help, we’ve put together a few tips to get you started off on the right foot. If you’re already working on your data security preparedness, consider this a refresher.
The reason that data security is so important today, as compared to just a few decades ago, is the fact that a lot of business data is now exchanged and accessed over the Internet. While the Internet has become an indispensable tool for many business processes, it also opens businesses up to far more threats than ever before.
Because of the unfortunate consequences of this beneficial shift, you and your entire team will have a role to play in protecting your critical data. Let’s start our tips with the ones that apply to everyone in the business.
Nowadays anyone in the business could potentially be exposed to online threats, so your team needs to collectively adopt the following behaviors:
Be smart when browsing online. Scammers and other threats to your business’ data have plenty of ways to trick you and your users into inadvertently sharing data (or, more accurately, access to that data) with those that will misuse it. Make sure that your entire team understands the security best practices for browsing online—sticking to reputable sources, looking for the HTTPS in all links, and considering what they might be clicking on—and works to make them all habits.
Use two-factor authentication whenever available. Two-factor authentication makes infiltrating an account considerably more difficult by requiring more than just a password (the most common factor) to confirm (or authenticate) that a login attempt is coming from a legitimate user. While commonly associated with additional codes sent via text, there are many additional (and potentially more secure) options available for businesses to adopt.
Learn to identify phishing. Phishing is a method of cyberattack that relies on the cybercriminal fooling a human user, rather than overcoming cybersecurity protections. One famous example of a phishing email was the Nigerian Prince scam, which was effectively just a con known as the Spanish Prisoner, or advance fee fraud. Concocting some story, an email would be sent to a target, offering great riches in return for some small financial support. In the business sense, phishing can also be used to steal access credentials and other sensitive data, as phishing emails can sometimes be designed quite convincingly.
As the business owner, you need to take charge and make some procedural changes and adjustments to the technology you have implemented. A few examples of these activities include:
Ensure your software solutions are up to date. Outdated (or worse, unsupported) software is one of the most convenient means that an attacker has in their efforts to breach your network. Any software installed to your business’ computing network or infrastructure needs to have all available updates implemented as soon as possible.
If one of your software solutions is no longer supported by its developer in this way, it urgently needs to be replaced, as any future vulnerabilities will not be remedied.
Implement password management. There are a few cardinal sins that most users are likely guilty of when it comes to the passwords used to secure their accounts. Repeating passwords on multiple accounts is one, while making them too simple to guess or crack is another. By providing your team with a password management solution, you can remove any excuse your users have to continue using insecure passwords for work purposes.
Secure your Wi-Fi network. If your wireless network isn’t using robust and comprehensive security protocols in its defenses, you could be exposing your business to the threat of breach. Implementing a modern protocol will help shore up these weaknesses and better reinforce your protections.
R&L IT & Telecom Consultants can help you make any of the above changes (and others) if need be, in addition to our many other useful IT support and management services. To learn more about what we could do for your business specifically, reach out to us at (718) 685-2959.
Not ready to talk to us just yet? Make sure you at least come back to our blog regularly, for more useful IT tips, information, and best practices.