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How to Keep Your Business Data Safe From Hackers

How to Keep Your Business Data Safe From Hackers

Hackers are a big issue in business right now, with plenty of companies experiencing data leaks and denial of service attacks. If you want to keep your business data safe, there are certain steps you need to take. Don’t rely on blind luck or not being targeted – your customers deserve better. Use these tips to secure your data as soon as possible.

Identify Your Data

The first step in protecting your data is to figure out what it is. Some of your data may not be in need of protection, but some will. Sensitive information includes the addresses of your customers, their credit card or other payment details, and any internal documents that would compromise your business if they were released. Financial data is always the biggest target for hackers, so make sure you consider all angles of data in this category.

Outsource Your Storage

Do you need to store all of the data that you have on file? There are other ways to protect your customer data than just by doing it yourself. You could have a third-party company set up your payment system, so that they store the data instead of you. This way, someone who is experienced and established at storing credit card information is in charge of doing it for your business. This means you don’t have any further action to take with that particular data.

Strengthen Your Network

Add in firewalls, use encryption software, and make sure there are no access points where hackers could easily get into your company system. This also means not allowing unauthorized people or devices to connect to your network. Make sure that all software is set to install updates automatically, so that no unpatched breaches are ever left open. If you shore up the defenses, there will be fewer chances for hackers to get in. The harder you make it for them, the more likely it is that they will move on to an easier target. If you aren’t sure how to do this, the best option may be to bring in a consultant who will assess your network. They will be able to recommend and put into action the best strategies for protecting your business data.

Educate Your Staff

Staff can be the single biggest weakness in your network. They probably don’t know how to use the internet or store data safely, so make sure that you educate them about it. Tell them that they should be using a VPN to connect to the internet, that they shouldn’t take data home or connect personal devices to the company network, and that they should never share their passwords or allow someone else to use their account. You should also encourage them to change passwords regularly and keep them as safe as possible.

Check Your Partners

Any business that you collaborate with, such as the company handling your credit card transactions, could be a potential breach. Make sure that you check out your existing partners and any potential new collaborators for safety standards. They should at least have the same level of security that you do, and you would hope for their standards to be even higher. This will ensure that everyone is secure, and that no weak link can cause a problem for everyone.

When you have followed all of these steps, your business should be as secure as it can reasonably be. As you grow, make sure to keep an eye on your security and whether you need to increase it to protect more valuable data. Be aware of changing trends, too, so you can keep the most up-to-date security package in place.

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by Sarah Kearns // Sarah Kearns is a hard-working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books, and writing about green living.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.