Businesses throughout the United States are constantly being targeted by hackers and other criminals that are in search of private, personal data. Eventually those wrongdoers succeed: last year we saw the databases of shopping giant Target compromised in one of the largest security breaches in history. In the end, that episode cost the company over $100 million, and it is still seeing the effects of the attack.
Large corporations aren’t the only companies being targeted, though. Small businesses throughout the country are also being targeted, sometimes at a rate much higher than the bigger companies. It’s been reported that 44% of small businesses have been targeted and attacked with the average cost for each coming in at right around $9,000.
The question now becomes clear: what can I do to prevent these attacks and protect my sensitive data? Below we have laid out 4 actions to easily implement right now to help keep your company’s data secure.
4 Tips to Protect Sensitive Data
1. Keep software and hardware up to date. Oftentimes once software applications–such as anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, for example–are installed, they are forgotten about. This isn’t good. Technology is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay up to date. Updates to software and hardware are offered for a reason (to make your current system better!), so don’t neglect them.
2. Know what you have. Identify what type of information you have and just how sensitive it is. If you store customer’s credit card information, it’s imperative to keep that data safe and secure. You have to know the sensitivity of the data you have, which brings us to number three…
3. Know where it’s stored. It needs to be clearly defined where your data resides, whether it be on computers in the office, within some sort of cloud system or even on a local server. A good security protocol will make sure all of these particulars are available at a moment’s notice in case of an emergency.
4. Encrypt the data. This provides an extra layer of protection for sensitive information, and is considered the most effective way to achieve security. After you encrypt files, the person trying to access the information must provide a password or key to view the information. Therefore, in the event of a security breach, your sensitive data will probably still remain secure and invisible to the attacker.
Taking these measures to protect your sensitive data now will not only help stop unwanted attackers from potentially stealing valuable information, but they can also help your company save money in the long run. Don’t wait until it’s too late, protect your sensitive information today!
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