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Most businesses have a fair or even large amount of sensitive information that needs to remain secret. When information falls into the wrong hands, you could face liability issues and a damaged reputation. Through improved techniques and strategies, you can reduce the risk of having a data breach, theft or other damaging situation.

1. TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES

Many of your employees have access to sensitive information or their actions could be responsible for either protecting or leaking it. Because of this, your employees must be properly trained so that they are aware of the necessary steps needed to protect your data.

  • Train your employees to keep their login credentials private and to use strong passwords.
  • When employees leave your organization, lock them out of their login privileges
  • Your team should be encouraged to save files to the cloud where information is better protected.
  • Consult with IT professionals for ways to prevent hacks, breaches etc.

In most cases, employees do not maliciously leak information or cause a breach, and instead, many of their potentially negative actions are the result of their desire to be more productive or because they feel pressured to meet deadlines. Work with your IT team to create a cybersecurity awareness program, and have your IT staff review each employee’s actions regularly to ensure that they are not unintentionally putting sensitive data at risk.

 

2. UPDATE YOUR TECH

Even well-trained employees cannot protect and secure data without access to the right combination of technology. Remember that storing your sensitive information on paper carries risks as well, such as those related to the physical theft of documents, damage from fire and more.

  • Regularly review your hardware and software data security efforts and capabilities.
  • Ensure that all products being used are updated and are compatible with future assets.
  • Create a layered security process that makes it more challenging for employees’ unintentional errors or for intentional hacks to impact your business.
    Place limits on file viewing, printing and forwarding.
  • Prevent employees from taking screenshots of documents and review activity on a regular basis. More than that, you can use watermarks on data that is shared in the cloud to ensure only those with proper authorization can view files.

 

3. DON’T KEEP THE DATA YOU DON’T NEED

All businesses, regardless of their size and industry, face potential threats. Hospitals, schools and e-commerce businesses all store valuable information. Consider, for example, companies and luxury brands dealing with data of high net worth individuals, such as art galleries, fashion stores, real-estate companies or antique traders. By jeopardizing personal data, not only is the business at risk, but also the safety of their customers and their material possessions.

Understandably, you want to collect and analyze data to create effective and targeted marketing and advertising campaigns. However…

  • Avoid storing any details that are not needed
  • Ensure that all information is properly encrypted for the benefit of your employees and customers alike
  • When information is being conveyed online, ensure that you use SSL certifications.

This can protect your customers’ passwords, payment information and more.

 

4. PROTECT YOURSELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Many business owners and managers fail to take security precautions when using social media. All social media platforms pose potential security risks, but you may be able to prevent some issues from happening by simply adjusting your security settings and using strong passwords.

  • Develop an extensive social media policy for your team that includes reviewing information to be posted on social media sites beforehand.
  • Your team should be trained to avoid clicking on shortened URLs as these may be linked to scams.
  • Remember that some hackers may use direct messages on Twitter for phishing purposes.
  • In addition, limit the publishing rights for your company’s social media accounts to a select few individuals who have exceptional social media security knowledge.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS
It is important to understand all of the potential security risks that your company faces both internally and externally. A thoughtful IT security policy should be created to cover all aspects of data storage, Internet usage and more.

In addition, your team needs to be properly trained and monitored to ensure compliance with your policies. They also need access to the right technology to enable them to comply with data security efforts.

 

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