When businesses fail to keep their information secure, there can be dire repercussions. Large data breaches can do more than cost a business customers – they can destroy their reputations as well. Businesses that operate at large scales are in danger of this happening to them, but small businesses are not exempt from this era of data-driven operations. Follow these best practices for increased security to keep your business information safe.
1. Keep Track of Information
Keeping your information safe isn’t just a matter of putting up barriers and layers of security. It’s also about knowing what information you do have and ensuring that you’re not guarding outdated and useless information. Keeping extraneous data means that your customers will be harmed more than need be if a breach does occur, so it’s vital for businesses to limit themselves to only the necessary levels of information.
This also means doing regular inventory checks to assess whether information can be kept or gotten rid of. It’s important to know what information you have, where it’s being stored, and who within your business has access to it. As you create your inventory, you might realize that you have documents stored both electronically and in physical files. Creating the inventory is an opportunity to do an unofficial audit of your data and keep track of it in one place.
2. Personnel Protection
It can be difficult to ensure that data is 100% safe when you run a business where possibly hundreds of individuals have access to data every day. Without the right protections in place, it’s all too easy for employees to accidentally or otherwise create data breaches or steal data themselves. That’s why it’s important to have layers of access to levels of information so that nobody is at risk of accidentally wreaking havoc on your business.
No single employee should be given too much responsibility and access, either. Whenever possible, employees should share tasks and be given split layers of access. If you have employees googling “what is TLS?”, it may be a sign they should be assigned to a different project. They should also be trained and encouraged to create safe logins for themselves and to change passwords regularly.
3. Update Cybersecurity
A big way many businesses can open themselves up to attacks is by neglecting to install software updates routinely. Having out-of-date software means that your business is running with a tool that has been found to have weaknesses. Updates are created to solve those weaknesses and make your information a little safer every time. A good cybersecurity program combined with regular software updates can go a long way towards keeping your business safe from external threats.
4. Use a Business Credit Card
Large businesses and small businesses alike need a secure way to pay for business expenses, and by far the best way to do that is by getting a business credit card. You’ll be protected against fraud, and any unrecognized expenses can be disputed with ease. It’s also easy to protect your card by having spending limits integrated for employee use. With today’s online banking being a breezy experience, it’s almost too easy to monitor card activity and creates expense reports. Plus, for businesses that have to send employees on business trips, getting those mileage points can save a lot of money.
5. Create a Plan of Action
Every business, no matter how secure, is at risk of experiencing a data breach or data theft. Having a solid plan in place will not only get your business back on its feet more quickly, but it may end up saving more data in the end. Your plan should include three basic steps: disconnecting compromised devices, notifying customers (and potentially law enforcement), and conducting an internal investigation to find out what happened. By having security measures in place and rigorously learning from mistakes, businesses’ information can be significantly more safe.