Your business relies on its data. If anything happens to compromise it, you could end up losing a lot more than a few email addresses. You could be at risk of huge financial fines and losses, you could lose your investors, and you could lose your customers. It’s not enough to just have a decent anti-virus software installed anymore. Hackers are getting better and better at what they do, and trying to outsmart them can turn into a full-time job. However, if you can protect your business on every front – software, training, knowledge – then you’ve got a better chance of avoiding a hack, or surviving one if it happens.
Train your staff
At the end of the day, it’s your staff who can cause the most damage. Corrupt files don’t get downloaded on their own; nor do suspicious sites get visited without someone accessing them. However, most employee-driven hacking attempts are purely accidental, where your staff simply don’t know how what’s dangerous and what’s ok. Take the time to train them about online safety: point out the difference between safe attachments, and those that are potential hackers. Show them how to create a strong password, and when to use data encryption. To ensure that no stones are left unturned, don’t just train your employees once. New findings come out all the time about online safety; share them as much as you can. The more your staff know, the less likely they will be to open a gap for hackers to move in.
Know your processes inside and out
Speed is the most critical element when it comes to a data breach. You need to get it shut down and your data restored as fast as you can. Using a data recovery professional is the best way to take control back – especially if you aren’t an IT expert. Likewise, ensure that the right processes are in place when you work with partners and suppliers. If they aren’t secure, you shouldn’t do business with them. Check that all of your suppliers have secure credentials, and use stringent procurement checks to ensure they adhere to them.
Understand your data
If you don’t know what’s going on with your data, you won’t know how to protect it. Understand what your most vital, sensitive, business-critical data is, and put the strongest controls around it. When you know what data your business relies on, you can go even further when it comes to protecting it. It also means that you won’t have to spend a fortune on applying the same tough security settings to all your data: there’s some that you won’t need to protect as rigorously, and can therefore spend less on. It might seem ridiculous to not know where your data is – but if you just depend on the cloud, are you really providing solution? Your most important data should be stored in several locations, including in physical servers or hard drives in a location that you can access.
Invest in the right protection
A lot of this requires specialist knowledge – so ask the professionals if you’re worried about your data protection strategy. Firstly, don’t skimp when it comes to protecting your business. From decent anti-virus software to the best backup solutions, you should have best-in-class programs for all of it. Likewise, don’t try to ‘do it yourself’ all the time.