With the integration of new technology in businesses, data breaches and privacy vulnerabilities have become quite common. One study attributed 27% of data breaches to “human error.” The same study reported that 25% of data breaches are due to “system glitches.” These data breaches do not come without a cost. An estimated 7.91 million dollars is directly lost by businesses due to data breach, according to a 2018 study. These are tough times but all is not lost, though. You can still take concrete measures to protect your startup from a data breach. We have compiled a few steps you can take to keep your small business safe from data breaches.
Limit access to confidential information
Too many breaches are caused by staff involved in leaking company information. Most do so by accidentally passing data to hackers. Other times, the data is taken by malicious ex-employees. So, what do you do to ensure that your data is in safe hands? The simplest way to avoid data breaches in business is to limit access to sensitive data. Give access to only needed data to the relevant employees.
For example, your business finance information should only be accessed by the staff in the right department. It shouldn’t be readily available to everyone else in your organization. Similarly, your employees’ details are best left to the human resource department to be the custodian. This ensures that information is in the safe hands of only those responsible for handling it, reducing the chances of a data breach.
It is also smart to ensure you cut off access to your company systems the moment an employee leaves. You can do so by changing the access credentials and wiping out related data. This way, there will be more accountability regarding the handling of data by your employees. This will significantly reduce the risk of costly data breaches
Educate your employees on cybersecurity
Suffice it to say; your employees are the strongest defense against cyber attacks or the weakest link. That is why you need to take a proactive and progressive approach to educate your entire workforce about cybersecurity threats. You need to create awareness of the counter-measures they can take before someone compromises your system and data. You can enlighten your employees by doing the following:
- Elucidate on the potential impact of a cybersecurity threat. Explain the risks involved in case your employee leaves their laptop unattended in public spaces or when they use public WiFi to access corporate information. By making your staff understand the potential impact of their behaviors, they will be aware of things they can do and what they should not do to protect your data.
- Train your staff to recognize and respond appropriately to cyber threats: Most cyber threats appear authentic from a distance. Teach your employees how to identify such threats as phishing emails, which may turn out to be malicious. Let them know that they should open emails from trusted sources only. In case of a data breach, equip them with the skills of dealing with the event to save your company money and reputation.
Reduce BYOD security risks
The “Bring Your Own Device” trend is gaining traction around. Well, letting your employees use their own devices for official work purposes has substantial benefits. It increases their efficiency and productivity. They can access your company data from anywhere they have an internet connection. Also, research has shown that workers are more comfortable using their own devices for work.
But, BYOD comes with a potential data breach. Hence, you need to create a BYOD strategy that will allow your employees to accomplish more work. At the same time, you need to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Here is how you can achieve that:
- Implement MDM plan: A mobile device management for small businesses gives you greater control over the devices your staff is using. With MDM, your staff can access your company data in a central, secure location separate from their applications. Your workers can use their devices for business functions without compromising the security of your company data.
- Create and enforce strict policies: Have a clear policy on the type of devices and apps your staff is allowed to use. This enables your employees to understand the secure way to use their devices to enhance their performance.
Increase password security
Strong passwords go a long way in preventing a data breach. They are vital to preventing hackers from accessing sensitive information. As such, you should ensure that your team creates strong passwords to log into your business portal.
Tip: a strong password should contain at least eight characters. It should contain upper- and lower-case letters as well as symbols. Ensure that the passwords are changed as often as possible to heighten security.
Technology has increased efficiency in business, and it is bound to get even better. There is a dark side, though. There is a rise in cybersecurity issues that you need to keep an eye on. Remember, no business is too small for a cyberattack. So, work to keep your startup safe from some of these costly attacks.
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