Protecting Your Business and Customers From Data Breaches

With the abundance of security breaches recently, internet and data security should be at the top of your list – not only for the safety and privacy of your business, but for that of your customers. Stay Safe Online, powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, offers the following tips on protecting your small business and your customers from data breaches.

Update Your Technology

Now is a great time to update your virus protection programs and add malware protection to your systems. Periodically changing your passwords is always a good idea, and the best passwords are long and complex, with a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, if allowed. If your company offers WiFi to the public, make sure that it is not the same one you are using for your operations.

Be Careful With The Cloud 

Nearly everyone uses the cloud to save their data, in some way. Unfortunately, as recent celebrity photo thefts show, it’s vulnerable to attacks. The good news is, just like your personal computer, you can take steps to insure that your information is kept safe. The first step is to use a reputable provider. Do your homework – make sure the provider has support and security measures in place. Do they have 24/7 monitoring? Do they use two factor authentication? A reputable provider will offer this. Use SSL encryption to pass data from your website to a web server. Encrypt your stored data, thereby making it useless if hackers do manage to get to it.

Protect Your Customers

Stay Safe Online recommends that you have, and follow, a privacy policy that explains to your customers what data you collect and what you intend to do with it. Once you’re finished with the data, delete it completely. You can download programs that will enable you to overwrite files permanently.

Train Your Employees

Periodically remind your employees to change their passwords, and make sure they know to never open links that appear suspicious. If it looks like spam, it usually is. Limit their downloads to approved sources. Unknown programs with malicious intent can use the same names as legitimate downloads – insure they are downloading from the actual source. Your employees also need to understand the importance of protecting sensitive data, and how failing to do so can impact them, the business, and the customer.

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