As a small business owner, you might not realize just how at risk your company is to data thieves, hackers, and other Internet threats. While data breaches at large corporations steal most of the headlines, it is local small businesses that predominantly receive the brunt of cyberattacks. Why? Because small businesses tend to have weaker network defenses in place, which means it’s easier for cybercriminals to sneak past and siphon off all the important financial data saved up. Plus, a small business might never realize it was actually attacked, while larger corporations will identify these problems and generally make the necessary corrections quickly. To help protect yourself, your business, and your customers, you need to follow these set of data privacy best practices.
Minimize Your Data Collecting
There has been an alarming trend as of late of companies overextending and obtaining information not needed at all. Why do these companies do it? For a number of reasons. It might at some point in time help with marketing research and generate advertisement material for small demographic groups. Other times the company may try to sell off the information. It’s hard to know exactly what these larger companies are after.
As a small business owner though, one of the data privacy best practices is to not overextend yourself and collect the information you don’t need. This minimizes your data footprint, which cuts down on the amount of protective bandwidth needed for your network security.
Think of the amount of data collected as a plot of land and network security as a fence. The more data you collect the more land you’ll need to hold it. With a larger plot of land, you’ll need a larger fence. And when you need a larger fence it increases the possibility of a breach somewhere in the fence. Your data is the same. The less data you collect the less storage you need, which means the firewall can be smaller and tighter. This, in turn, means fewer openings for cybercriminals to sneak in.
Don’t Forget to Audit
You should also routinely audit the information you have stored on your network. If you’ve been in business for some time there’s a good chance you have all kinds of data you no longer need and is just taking up space. During these audits, you can either fully remove these files or, at the very least, transfer the files to an off-site drive that isn’t connected to the network. This will free up space and make your data storage even tighter.
Educate Your Employees
This is an easy one but it is also an important one. It doesn’t matter how strong your network security is, if one of your employees opens a corrupt email or clicks on an infected link, hackers will be given clear access to the inside of your business network without ever really trying. It’s like someone leaving the door wide open for a thief to enter.
So go over security measures with your employees. Make sure they fully understand the importance of not opening personal emails while at work. These pose some of the greatest risks to your business than just about anything else out there.
If you’re collecting data you need to encrypt it. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t take much time to encrypt your information and it instantly adds another layer of protection. This way, even if a cybercriminal finds their way beyond your network wall they will run into another. There isn’t much they can do with encrypted files. So, while you still need to focus on your overall network security, this at least works as a safety measure.
Typically, when a cyber thief is looking for information to steal they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Lingering increases the possibility of being caught. So, if they discover you are using encrypted data they will more than likely just move on by. They want unencrypted data that can be used instantly.
Get Rid Of What You’re Not Using
Your network security is only as good as the weakest link, and oftentimes the weakest link is something that’s out of sight, out of mind. Chances are you have an old data device that may still be connected to your network. You’ve upgraded the network in recent years so haven’t thought about the older device. It’s not causing any harm, and who knows, you might someday need it again, right? The problem is this old device you’re not using probably hasn’t had any kind of significant firewall upgrade in years, which means it is far easier for someone snooping around your network to identify it and use it to sneak inside your network undetected.
So, if you have any kind of old tech, drives, or anything else with data stored on it that you haven’t used in some time, you need to either open up the drive and transfer any files you still need before shutting it down and cutting out off of the network forever, or you need to bring it back into the fold. Whatever you do, don’t just let it float around, because it puts your entire network at risk.
Protect Your Small Business With A Single Phone Call
Each of these data privacy best practices is the steps you need to take to improve the overall security of your network. The steps are easily followed yet will drastically improve your network security. Above all of these steps though you need to give an IT professional such as Charlotte IT Solutions a call. These professionals can work with you in implementing every one of these steps as well as customizing security systems specifically designed for your business and your business alone. So, if you’re ready to get serious about your small business network security and safeguarding both your company and your clients, now is the time to pick up your phone and give the team at Charlotte IT Solutions a call. This single call may be the most important data privacy call you ever make.