Protecting crucial business data has always been important. But in this new world where major companies are hacked on a seemingly weekly basis, businesses have to be more careful than ever before.
Only recently Carphone Warehouse became the latest major company to be affected by a data breach. But there are plenty more smaller businesses that are affected without making the headlines.
The results for your business could be serious and could include large fines. So what can you do to protect your data?
Get the Basics Right
The first thing to do is ensure you have all the basic protections in place to keep your data safe. These are your first line of defence, and they include the use of strong passwords for anyone who is permitted to get access to sensitive data, as well as ensuring your software is always backed up to the latest versions.
Use Advanced Authentication Tools
You may want to use effective authentication tools, which can provide greater protection against data breaches by ensuring only authorized users access the data. This goes beyond passwords and involves the use of tools like fingerprint readers and smart-card readers.
Related Article: 5 Vital Steps for Small Business Cyber Security
Install Enterprise-Level Antivirus Software
Using efficient antivirus software should be seen as essential for any business. You may want to use a solution that also scans emails for viruses because this is one of the ways that a hacker could get access to your systems.
Use Remote Wipe
You may operate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme at work, where you allow your employees to bring in their own phones and access company data. If you do this, make sure your employees password-protect their devices, and also ensure they can be remote wiped. That way, if they do lose their devices, you can wipe the data securely so that it does not get into the hands of the wrong people.
Carry Out Penetration Testing
You may want to hire a specialist to carry out penetration testing on your systems. Such testing will help to find out just how exposed your data is in a completely safe way, and you can then take the necessary steps to protect it. It could involve testing infrastructure, desktops, web applications and more.
Always Use Encryption
There are many encryption tools you can use, and this should be seen as essential for any devices that hold sensitive company data. Sometimes encryption solutions can be difficult to manage, so you may want to find a more flexible solution.
For hardware like laptops, you may want to consider using hardware encryption. This is BIOS independent and it provides a secure method of encrypting your devices so even if a device is lost, the data will remain safe.
Keep Your Company Data Safe
These are all effective ways to protect your company data. However, the most important factor of all is education. No matter what tools you have in place, your employees will often be the weakest link, so make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities by educating them about the risks. Ensure they can come to you with their questions and concerns, and make sure they follow the correct guidance to reduce the risk of a data breach occurring.
Author: David Wray is a certified TigerScheme SST, with twenty years experience in technical Internet security. Beginning his career with the Peapod Group as a Firewall Engineer, David went on to found Sec-Tec Ltd in 2000, which specialises in penetration testing and technical assessment services. David is a guest expert on LBC radio, and can often be heard providing insight into information security news and current affairs.