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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you already know that cyber-attacks are a big concern for all businesses. In the wrong hands, all of the data that you hold about your company and your customers can be used to commit fraud or hold you to ransom for large amounts of money. Cyber-criminals are always finding new ways to exploit weaknesses and steal information from companies so you really need to be on the ball when it comes to data security.
A breach is bad news for your business for a number of reasons. First off, you might be subject to fraud and have money stolen from the business. In some cases, you might be able to recover it and hopefully, you’re covered by insurance, but these criminals are experts at moving money around and hiding it so, more often than not, you’ll take a big financial hit. If you lose customer data, that’s bad news as well because they are trusting you to look after that personal information that you hold about them and if you can’t do that, you’re going to lose a lot of customers.
When it comes to protecting sensitive data, it’s important that you have strict policies in place and your employees are trained in good data handling practices. You should limit access to data to people that need it and make sure that there are clear policies in place when it comes to sharing that information. However, the best way to protect your business and its data is to implement the right technology. These are the most important pieces of security technology that all businesses should be using.
Firewalls And Virus Protection
If you don’t already have firewalls and virus protection in place, you’re way behind and you’re opening yourself up to so many risks. It’s not likely that you aren’t using any kind of security at all because we’re all so used to using it on our home computers already, but it may be the case that you’re not updating it regularly enough or you’re not using the right software. When you’re trying to protect your home computer, you can probably get away with the free firewalls that come built into the computer as long as you’re only using it for basic things like emails, reading the news, or browsing social media. But when it comes to business computers, that isn’t going to cut it.
You need to be using a paid service that is designed for businesses to protect yourself online, otherwise, you’re likely to be the victim of an attack. Cyber-criminals are always looking for businesses that are vulnerable and anybody that is using inadequate firewalls and virus protection is likely to be hit. There are plenty of great firewalls for business out there which offer the protection that you need. Updating them regularly is so important as well because cyber-criminals quickly find ways around them so it’s a constant battle to stop them from becoming obsolete. If you don’t update your firewalls, they’re next to useless. You need a good IT team on hand to deal with updating firewalls as and when they need it and responding quickly to any breaches. If you can’t afford to hire an in-house IT team, it’s best to outsource to a third party so you still have access to the expertise that you need.
Customer Verification Systems
It’s not just cyber-attacks that you need to worry about either. Fraudsters will often contact your company posing as a customer and try to get you to share sensitive information with them. That’s why it’s so important that you have a good customer verification system in place. In most industries, you have to abide by Know Your Customer guidelines to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to confirm somebody’s identity before you speak with them. Most companies will use security questions when speaking with a customer to try to clarify that they are who they say they are. This is a good way of keeping things secure but if a fraudster already has some information on a customer, there is still a chance that they can pass these security questions so it isn’t the most secure way of handling customer verification. It’s worth investing in some KYC check software that offers safer ways of verifying your customers. For example, you can use facial recognition software which is far harder to cheat than some basic security questions. It’s also quicker for your customers than going through the same questions every time they want to contact your business for any reason.
You might be wondering what scheduling software has to do with data security, but it’s important to remember that in some cases, a data breach may come from within the company. It might be that you have a disgruntled employee that shares information maliciously or perhaps somebody that is being offered money to hand over information that is stored in the office. It’s a rare scenario but it does happen and if it does, it’s important that you find out who the culprit is immediately so you can limit the damage and deal with it so it doesn’t happen again. If you’re using good scheduling software, you can quickly see exactly who was in the building at what time using a punch in system and you can keep a clear eye on when information is going missing and who is working at those times. This will help you narrow it down and hopefully find out who is stealing that sensitive information.
A lot of people are already using a VPN (virtual private network) at home to protect themselves and your business should be using one as well. Instead of sending information via an open connection where it is vulnerable to attack, a VPN creates a separate private network which is encrypted. You can still access the internet through the VPN and operate as you normally would but you have an added layer of protection.
If you implement these tech solutions in your business, you’ll find it a lot easier to protect your sensitive data and avoid a catastrophic data loss.
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