Data thefts are topping the news again:
Here are ten things you can do to protect your business .
Shred documents containing sensitive data prior to recycling. Remove all data from computers and electronic storage devices before disposing of them.
Password protect your business computers – including laptops and smartphones – and access to your network and accounts. Require employees to have a unique user name and a strong password that is changed at least quarterly.
Create user accounts for each employee to prevent unauthorized use of your business computers. Laptops can be easy targets; make sure they’re locked in place when unattended. Also limit network access on computer stations located in public spaces, such as the reception area.
Encryption helps protect the security and privacy of files as they are transmitted or while on the computer. Install encryption on all laptops, mobile devices, flash drives and backup tapes, and encrypt emails that contain sensitive information.
Install and use antivirus and antispyware software on all of your business computers. Don’t open email attachments or other downloads unless you’re sure they’re from a trusted source.
Install updates to security, web browser, operating system and antivirus software as soon as they become available. They contain “patches” that address security vulnerabilities within the software and are your first line of defense against online threats.
Before working with third parties that have access to your data or computer systems or manage your security functions, be sure their data protection practices meet your minimum requirements and that you have the right to audit them. Not only do you want to ensure that your customer and business data is secure, but if a breach occurs on their watch, you could still be held liable and may be required to take all the necessary steps toward recovery – including notifying customers, monitoring credit, paying penalties or fines, etc.
Last but not least, make sure your employees understand your data protection practices and their importance. Document your policies and practices and distribute them to your team. Review your practices regularly and update them as required. Be sure to retrain your staff as updates are made.
1 Percentage is an approximation based on the Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report.