One of the most essential things a company possesses is data. Everything from a business’s financial records and account passwords to consumer emails and credit card accounts are vital to success.
Unfortunately, this data is also attractive to cybercriminals. They use this information to commit fraud, identity theft, and other crimes. There’s also the risk of competitors using the data to get ahead.
Ultimately, business owners must do what it takes to protect this data. This process starts by identifying your vulnerabilities. Continue reading to learn more.
No or Outdated Anti-Virus Software
One of the simplest forms of data protection is installing anti-virus software on all your devices. This software protects data ranging from your bank accounts and 2021 tax filing documents to your documents and client accounts from being compromised by a virus, malware, and other cyberattacks. If you don’t download the appropriate protection, an attack could result in thousands of dollars in damages to recover what was lost. Anti-virus protection should be added and frequently updated on your company computers, laptops, and smartphones for preventative measures.
Failing To Vet Employees or Service Providers
There comes a time when every business owner has to get assistance in completing everyday tasks. Whether you choose to outsource to an agency or hire employees, you must be careful with your selection. Hiring someone to work with sensitive data without proper background checks could land you in trouble. If they aren’t trustworthy, they could steal and even sell your information for their gain. Although nothing is foolproof, online research, consumer reviews, and employment background checks can help you reduce your risk of hiring the wrong individual or agency.
Little To No Training
Not all data breaches are the result of someone trying to be malicious. Sometimes, human error is the culprit. If employees aren’t trained in handling certain information, platforms, and software, you run the risk of them making a mistake. They could share essential documents without the proper encryption, access company data from a less protected personal device, or unknowingly give account access to third parties. Any of these mistakes could result in thousands of dollars in damages and a reputation that’s hard to rebuild.
Improper Data Storage Methods
Although saving documents to a computer or smartphone may seem like the easiest method for data storage, it isn’t. At any time, this information could become compromised by cybercriminals or outside parties. Not to mention, if the device gets lost, stolen, or damaged, it could fall into the wrong hands or be lost forever. As trying to restore this information and regain the trust of your clients is expensive and time-consuming, you must find a secure method for storing data.
Cloud storage accounts are ideal because they offer a large amount of space, are password-protected, and can be used collaboratively among approved users. Finally, if a device is lost, damaged, or stolen, you can secure the information without any additional costs to your business.
Employee Turnover Procedures
When an employee resigns, retires, or gets fired, you need a strategy to protect company data. Although it would be nice to trust that a former employee wouldn’t expose your company, that’s not always the case. This outcome is more likely when they’ve been fired. Since they’re disgruntled, they could do anything from put a virus on your computer to sell your information to a competitor.
Although it seems like a lot of work, employers are encouraged to develop a procedure to protect their data. This includes updating the employee’s status on all platforms, removing access, deleting email accounts, and changing passwords. That way, if someone is trying to be spiteful, they no longer have access to pertinent information.
Data is the very lifeline of your business operations. Don’t wait until you’ve suffered a security breach to take steps towards protecting this vital information. If your business is guilty of the above vulnerabilities, do what you can to make changes. Whether it means hiring an IT support company, training your teams more efficiently, or updating your anti-virus software, it’s essential to preventing severe financial consequences.