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All these things are important, sure. But I’m going to suggest something different.
As a tech guy, I might be a little biased, but ultimately I think that the most valuable asset a business possesses is its data.
In 2019, a Government report showed that one-third of businesses had experienced a cyber attack or data breach over the previous 12 months. And it’s not just the little guys who are at risk. Even huge global corporations who have (or at least should have) the absolute highest levels of security are being affected. The likes of Nintendo, Twitter, Zoom, and Marriott were hit hard in 2020.
And the list goes on. Hospitals, universities, banking organisations, and government departments aren’t spared the horrors of a breach. A quarter of UK charities fell victim to nasty attacks last year. This kind of activity puts your loyal customers at risk, but it also puts you at risk. From mild reputation hits to absolutely devastating disruption, and even permanent closure, a data breach is not a fun experience.
If you hold any sort of data, you’re vulnerable. This includes everything from customer data to payment data and purchasing data, to anything else… and it’s all priceless. That’s exactly why people steal it.
Now, data has always been valuable. So why am I making such a big song and dance about it right now?
Think about it. If you’re using digital marketing automation, then you’re collecting crazy levels of insight into customer behaviours and actions. If you’re using email marketing, you’ve probably got an extensive list of contacts. If you use a CRM, you have all sorts of customer data. And even if all you have is an online presence, you’re collecting user data across every single one of your customer touchpoints.
The rise in digital and the evolution of technology means that you hold a huge amount of data, and that puts you at risk. Throw in the fact that remote operations as a result of the COVID-19 crisis can enhance existing vulnerabilities and create new ones, and we could have a potentially huge issue on our hands.
So it’s critical that every business puts measures in place to protect themselves.
Here’s what I recommend:
A firewall is used to track and monitor all traffic within your network. If it identifies something unusual or something it doesn’t recognise, it blocks the traffic and prevents it from gaining access to your system. The Government report suggests that 89% of businesses and 80% of charities have a firewall. That’s pretty great!
DNS protection stops your employees from accessing potentially dangerous websites or harmful content. Some types of DNS protection also block access to downloaded content until it’s been properly scanned and deemed safe. It’s a good backup for when your staff don’t realise that something smells fishy.
Antivirus software – also known as anti-malware software – scans your systems to identify and remove anything malicious. You’ve probably already got something similar on your home computer. Again, uptake is good, with 90% of businesses already having an up-to-date antivirus programme.
Often overlooked, backing up data is one of the best and most basic solutions any business can employ. Having regularly updated and secure duplicate copies of data is so important. That’ll become obvious if you need to restore data in the event of loss or corruption through malware. Personally, I love CloudCover365 for Microsoft data. Many IT Pros believe it’s Microsoft’s responsibility to protect your Office 365 data. This is not true. Microsoft provides a wide array of powerful services within Office 365 — but a comprehensive backup of your Office 365 data is not one of them.
This requires users to provide two forms of ID to gain access to a system. The most common type of MFA is two-factor authentication (2FA). In March 2020, it became a legal requirement for banks in the UK. Having to enter an SMS code to get into your online bank might be frustrating, but it’s all to protect you!
Sticking to the 7 principles of the General Data Protection Regulation is a great way to protect your data. Of the 7, there are 4 I think are most critical here...
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. That’s my motto! The truth is that even with the best efforts, things can, and do, go wrong. And so, while it’s important to take measures to prevent a breach, it’s also important to plan for it should the worst happen. And we can help with that!
Thank you for contacting us.
We will reply to you in the next 24-48 hours.
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