November 1, 2015
These days, concerns about cyberwarfare and hacking seem to be bigger than ever. President Obama said that government and businesses must be vigilant about protecting themselves from hackers and criminals.
Some small business may think that they are safe as hackers will aim for juicier, bigger targets. But the reality is that 90 percent of data breaches target small businesses, and the average cost of a data breach for a small business is around $36,000.
Most of the time, hackers target payment data so that they can steal information and money for themselves. A small business may have to pay the costs of proving new debit and credit cards to customers whose data was stolen, undergo a forensic examination, and many other things. And even that figure of $36,000 does not account for the reputation which a business can lose as customers will no longer trust it with personal data.
So, how should business protect themselves and their customers? It is not that difficult, nor does it require fancy software or elite tech support. Some key, basic things can help prevent a data breach and avoid those terrible losses.
Train Your Employees on Data Security
A business owner can set all the data security policies in the world, but they are useless if his workers do not understand their importance. Employees need to understand why it is important to protect data and some things they can do to avoid it.
Some simple things that employers can train employees to do are not to click on spam links, change passwords sometimes, and not visit restricted sites at work. These are very simple ways where hackers end up gaining access to sensitive information.
Manage Mobile Devices
It is not enough to install a firewall anymore. Mobile devices, laptops, and other portable devices are new ways in which workers can gain access to your data. And in some ways, these things are more vulnerable than a standard desktop.
An owner cannot really demand that everyone uses a desktop, but mobile management has to be part of any security plan. Also, any phone which has access to a business’s data should be vetted first.
Back Up Your Data
Sometimes, hackers will break in anyways and an owner just needs to mitigate the damage. If an owner backs up his data, that will go a long towards that goal.
However, a study shows that 62 percent of small businesses do not routinely back up their data – which means that 62 percent of small businesses are at tremendous risk. Every small business should have an automated backup strategy and a way to retrieve any critical data should a hack occur.
Protecting a business’s data is paying a dollar now to not lose a thousand dollars later. There are more steps to protecting it than just these three, but these are some key, basic things which can help. Understand how important is to protect a business’s data, and then implement a strategy. At its most basic level, every business owner must do that.
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