6 Tips to Protect Your Business’ Most Important Asset: Your Data

Cybersecurity is a top concern for small businesses and everyday digital users. With governments and organizations now placing a greater emphasis on keeping safe online, it is vital that personal and professional users take note of the dangers that poor cybersecurity can trigger.

According to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, 43 percent of small business owners were attacked by phishing in 2015, with each stolen record costing an average of $217 to recover. While this financial cost is significant, the cost to future loss of earnings, reputational damage and trust is far greater.

The US is one of the countries most at risk for cyberattacks, and with our strong reliance on digital technology, bots are increasingly being used to infiltrate and damage technological and digital reputations.

Twenty-seven percent of small businesses admit to having few cybersecurity measures in place, with no policies dedicated to digital protection. A lack of security, few password policies in place, and easy access to sensitive data in the workplace only compound this serious problem.

As privacy breaches increase and consumers become further aware of them, what steps can both individuals and companies collectively take to keep their data secure?

1. Rigorously keep cybersecurity processes and policies current: A consistent company approach to keeping guidelines up to date is imperative to help employees effectively manage confidential data and important security passwords.

2. Adequate training: Ensuring that staff are appropriately trained to spot the signs of a potential security breach is worth the time and investment. Regular training and professional development can keep staff up to date with developments in cybersecurity that could impact the smooth running of daily operations.

3. Cyber insurance: Imagine having a dedicated line to a cyber security expert who can navigate a cyber ransom attack or the loss of critical data. Then imagine that the digital forensics, regulatory filings, PR, lawsuits, fines, the cost of your business’s interruption were all paid for. That’s cyber Insurance. In today’s world, it is as important as car insurance. Cyber insurance can protect companies and third parties from a host of negative consequences following a cyberattack. Businesses should have liability protection in place to protect both their reputations and the data provided by customers.

4. Prevention plan: Businesses should investigate and implement preventive cybersecurity measures. The firm you choose should offer services tailor-made to your organization’s unique needs. Additionally, this will ensure you aren’t paying for services unnecessary for your small business.

5. Protect the cloud: With many businesses relying on the cloud for everyday tasks and storage, it is important to ensure that protection in this space is the best it can be. Businesses should consider protection measures such as additional authentication settings, safety against DDoS breaches and regular testing to ensure security is up to scratch.

6. Remember mobile: Since mobile devices are among the most frequently used, we would expect greater mobile protection against cyberattacks. In reality, the safety of many smart devices is not the priority of their users. Users should take precautionary measures, such as ignoring unsecure networks, only downloading trusted apps and following extra authentication processes to keep devices and data safe.

Following these steps can help small businesses and individuals arm themselves against the growing and evolving threat of cyberattacks. Having a proper prevention plan and insurance in place, and keeping up to speed with security developments, will help reduce the risk of attacks and their many consequences.