Security may not always be the highest priority that a beginning company considers, but it is extremely important as a business grows. Security breaches can wreak havoc on your company and lead to huge recovery expenses. In fact, the average cost of a data breach is somewhere around $9.44 million in the U.S. Don’t let a security breach be the end of your business. Here’s how you can protect your company.
What is a Data Breach?
If you aren’t familiar with the term, a data breach occurs when secure or private information is moved into an untrusted environment. This usually brings to mind images of hackers finding the back way into your systems, but it doesn’t have to be this high-tech. Disgruntled employees or even a slip-up of leaving records out can lead to data breaches.
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is to monitor who has access to what in your company. It is obviously not recommended that new, low-level employees have full access to every record in your business. Organize your workforce in a way where you know exactly who has access to what. Not every employee needs full access to your website or POS System. Oftentimes, you can grant employees specific “roles” in these systems that only grant them the access they require to perform their duties. Even be mindful of social media access – not all employees should have full access to your profiles.
Train Your Employees
Phishing emails are a tactic used to “trick” employees into granting access to your company to outsiders. Oftentimes, a data breach occurs because an unassuming employee clicks a link in an email they thought was authentic. It’s extremely important to train all your employees on recognizing phishing attempts. Schedule classes quarterly or even every month to safeguard against this.
Keep Your Software Updated
An outdated website or piece of software is asking to be hacked. Software updates often come with patches to correct identified security risks. When a new update is released, stay on top of keeping your systems fully up to date.
Use Strong Passwords
We know you’ve heard it a million times but using stronger passwords really could be the difference between your business thriving or completely going under. Ensure that even your employees are taking the time to use complex passwords. Compromised credentials are a leading cause of security breaches. Consider taking advantage of a password manager to securely store all your passwords if it becomes difficult to keep up with them.
Utilize Security Software
If your company deals with a large amount of secure information, then it may be best to take advantage of security software available. Firewalls, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software can help protect you from costly security breaches. If you’re not sure where to begin with this, then you should contact a security expert to help install the systems you need.
Properly Dispose of Materials
You’ve heard the term, “better safe than sorry,” and this couldn’t be truer than when it comes to security. If you have outdated personal paper files for your business, always shred them before disposing of them. Just because old computers and hard drives have had information deleted doesn’t mean that these devices are completely cleared. It is best to use software specifically designed to completely wipe these devices. Or, manually destroying these devices if they are no longer to be used is another way to safeguard your information.
Have a Plan in Place
You never expect it to happen to you until it does. Always have a security breach plan in place to respond quickly in case of an emergency. A quick response time can often mean a huge difference in cost to recover. Employers should always be transparent when an employee’s personal information is put at risk. Similarly, customers should be alerted if their information has been compromised as soon as possible.
Looking to keep your business secure in the Amarillo area? The Amarillo Economic Development Center is here to help. Contact us now to see how we can help you protect your company.