April 25, 2022 Last updated July 2nd, 2022 1,016 Reads share

8 Steps to Keep Your Online Business Data Secure

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Maintaining a high level of cybersecurity to keep sensitive business data secure is critical in this digital age, where all data goes through various processes in both local and cloud networks. 

All forms of data from accounting, marketing, and sales, to name a few, go through networks and software as part of the business operations. When your company deals with large amounts of data from clients, employees, and the company itself, failing to consider security risks puts sensitive information at risk if a hacking attempt occurs. 

Today, cybersecurity threats can put all businesses at risk, and you shouldn’t let your guard down due to the various ways a data breach can occur. Some infiltrate Wi-Fi networks or employ phishing emails on unsuspecting employees.  

Aside from the commonly used modes of infiltration, you should also think about the four major risks when it comes to accessibility to sensitive data, especially among employees with privileged access. Regardless of the type of infiltration, the best defense is to come up with a multi-layered security approach. 

The security of your online business data should be your priority. Whether you already have security standards in place or plan to make adjustments, these measures will help protect your business data.  

Below are the eight steps to keep your online business data secured: 

 

1. Examine For Potential Flaws 

When your business operations have a few or several weak points or vulnerabilities, it can put your data at risk. These vulnerabilities are security gaps in the system or software your company utilizes.   

If you make an effort to scan for vulnerabilities, it allows you to pinpoint any potential security gaps or detrimental loopholes. When you run a scan, it looks for software or system flaws that hackers can exploit to gain access or cause damage. 

A scan should provide you with a fairly comprehensive outline of issues you need to deal with and some valuable insights on how to resolve them.

2. Set Limits On Data Sharing Or Accessibility 

In any company, certain employees will have access to sensitive data, which is necessary to perform their tasks. Although sharing data is an important part of any business’s workflow, it can also put your information at risk. Limiting the ability to share data to only a few employees is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of a data breach. 

When many employees have access to data, your company is at a higher risk of a data breach. You might want to try restricting data access to specific individuals and devices. In such instances, you must assess the data a department needs, limiting access to just what’s required to carry out their tasks efficiently. 

3. Execute Regular Patching And Updates   

Making it a priority to regularly update and patch your current software can help keep your business data secure from potential cybersecurity threats.   

Generally, developers release patches and updates once potential issues or flaws are present. If you want your operations to flow seamlessly while lowering the risk of a data breach, always keep software and systems up-to-date once new updates or patches are available. Remember that you don’t want to risk losing critical business data.  

If you can’t keep up with the updating and patching on a regular basis, consider setting up automatic updates. You no longer need to trouble yourself since the software and system regularly update themselves. Just don’t forget to check if any optional patches or updates are available, as they may be necessary for dealing with security flaws.  

4. Maximize The Security Encryption Provides 

Today, hackers are highly capable of infiltrating the defenses of most companies by bypassing the firewall or deceiving an employee with a phishing email attachment. Despite the fact that data breaches occur, hackers require access to your information in order to sell or misuse it. In such cases, it’s where encryption enters the picture.  

Encryption is a critical element in safety and one of the most effective preventive measures against a data breach. Consider encrypting all critical business data, such as email and remote communications, on local and mobile devices. 

An encrypted database will leave hackers with nothing, even if they infiltrate or expose critical data. Hackers will only end up with unreadable data because they lack the encryption key.    

5. Organize A Thorough Hiring Or Onboarding Procedure 

If you weren’t vigilant during the hiring process, it might be time to take it to a whole new level.  This is due to the high risk of possibly hiring someone capable of damaging or misusing your business data from the inside.  

As cybersecurity threats continue to rise, you might not know that the danger is within your company. If you want to prevent this, you should be meticulous when hiring new employees. Consider it a precautionary measure to protect against internal threats. 

In addition, it’s best to conduct background checks on potential hires, but don’t forget to look at their social media profiles. Additionally, make sure to review references, police reports, and even personal character evaluations during the hiring process. 

Although it’ll require some dedication and hard work, hiring the right people will be beneficial over time, especially when you want to keep your business data safe. Remember that the people you hire will have access to some of your data, so make sure you can depend on them when handling sensitive material. 

Furthermore, you should observe your employees on a regular basis, and if there are any drastic or unusual signs of change, consider it a red flag that your data may be in danger.    

6. Establish Password Usage Protocols 

Passwords can also put your business data at risk if you fail to set protocols, especially when it comes to updating them regularly.   

First, avoid the mistake of leaving the default usernames and passwords as is on software or systems. You must change them immediately because leaving them unchanged exposes your company to a data breach. 

The next point to consider is keeping the passwords updated on a regular basis. Make it clear in your password policies that your employees must update their passwords on a regular basis, ideally every 90 days or less. Keep in mind that doing so reduces the likelihood of hackers gaining access to your company’s information. 

A password that stays unchanged is more likely to be hacked by cybercriminals. If you recycle passwords you’ve previously used, the risk is even higher. 

One way to get the best results is to use a password manager tool. Generally, it helps store and manage login credentials securely. Most work in the same way by generating new, random passwords and storing them in a secure vault.   

7. Implement A Locking System On All Devices   

Depending on the workplace setting, it would be best to have a locking system in place. This secures the desktops or mobile devices that your employees use during your daily business operations. 

Negligence is a potential risk, especially when employees forget to log out of applications when taking a break or going home. When a locking system is in place, it acts as a vital security measure to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access and stealing or misusing data. 

The locking system might require a pin or password to allow access to the desktop or device. Make sure to set the locking feature to boot up after a brief period of idle time.   

8. Educate Your Workforce With Regular Security And Safety Awareness Training  

Businesses nowadays always face the ever-present risk of cybersecurity threats. If you want to protect your business data, it’s best to start by focusing on your workforce. Keeping your employees aware of the current cybersecurity threats and best data security practices can greatly help minimize potential data breaches and hacking attempts.   

In general, both small businesses and large-scale corporations might experience a data breach. Some are fortunate enough to recover. On the other hand, others are forced to close their doors permanently. Unfortunately, employees are to blame for the majority of data breaches. 

To avoid this, you can start by educating your employees about data security and potential cybersecurity threats. During data security and safety training sessions, make it clear to your employees that you rely on them to keep all data safe. 

It’s best to start by scheduling regular training sessions, ideally monthly or yearly, depending on your preference. The approach ensures that your employees are aware of all security and safety policies. 

Make it a priority during employee training sessions to emphasize some of the basic principles to make sure everything stays in mind and keep them aware of any new threats, so your employees will focus on maintaining good online practices.  

  

Final Thoughts  

Cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, and businesses of all sizes face a high risk of losing their precious data. Although the majority of threats come from the outside, internal threats can also pose a threat.  

With the help of these several security and safety measures, they’re worth considering to keep your business data secure. Regardless of the order in which you implement these measures or how you prioritize them, it’s best to start now to minimize the risk of data breach and loss.

 

Gabriel Simmons

Gabriel Simmons

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