Smart tips: How small businesses can protect their business data
Published May 17, 2018
Your small business is your greatest investment. That’s why protecting yourself, your employees, and your business data should be a top priority for any small business owner. But with arm-length lists of things to do in the here and now, many owners don’t take the necessary precautions to protect against a possible cyber threat. The truth is, there’s no time more important than the present to do so.
A 2017 report from the Ponemon Institute LLC on the state of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Business revealed that, in the past 12 months, 61% of companies have experienced a cyber-attack and 54% have experienced data breaches involving customer and employee information. These attacks, which can carry severe financial consequences, are most commonly experienced in the form of web-based attacks or phishing (though other culprits include compromised or stolen devices, SQL injections, and malware).
We’ve put together these handy tips to help protect your business data and increase your level of online security. After all, taking the time today could save you big time tomorrow.
Step 1: Back-up your data
There are several ways you can back-up your company’s data. Be it by burning CDs, using removable storage drives, or subscribing to an online cloud service, there’s no wrong choice to make (since it’s the actual act of backing-up that counts). For extra protection, we recommend using a dual back-up system by pairing several of the previously mentioned options. That way, you can ensure your data is safely stored in two different locations – just in case.
Did you know? With Bell Data Protect, you can automate a back-up schedule for whatever frequency and form of back-up you prefer. Be it hourly or daily for whichever folders you choose, Bell lets you set it and forget it so you can get back to work knowing your data is safe.
Step 2: Encrypt your data
For extra-sensitive data, be sure to use an encryption key before backing it up. This ensures that securely encrypted data is completely protected, meaning that hackers aren’t able to crack the code even if they manage to break into your system and try to steal your data. What’s more, data encryption also provides security benefits when sending files via email or in a cloud, shielding your more sensitive information from unauthorized viewers.
Step 3: Protect your PC with malware software
Signing up for a service like Bell’s Internet Protect protects your business’ PCs from any outside malware software that could attack your system and cause a data breach. Without it, private information such as customer data, financial details, and employee files could become targets.
Step 4: Step up your password game
We know it’s hard to remember them all, but one password just isn’t enough if you want peace of mind from cyber threats. Outfitting your files with dual password protection – in other words, adding a security question on top of a regular password – is a great way to cover your bases and build an added layer of security. Other best practices to adopt include changing your password every three months and never saving passwords in your browsers.
Step 5: Email etiquette
Finally, be sure that your business email address is registered with a reputable email provider; one who offers a certain level of protection built into their service. Once up and running, avoid opening any email attachments from senders that you don’t recognize. Phishing emails can be tricky, so trust your gut – if it something looks off, it’s best to be safe rather than sorry and not click on any unsecure links.
For more information, and to find out how Bell keeps your business protected, visit our Internet security services page.