7 Must Know Tips To Help Manage Your Business Data Security

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What’s your most valuable business asset? Your people? Your cash? Your network? Your reputation?

 

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.

 

7 Must-Know Tips To Help Manage Your Business Data Security

 

Business data & breaches

 

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.

 

A cyber attack can come in lots of different forms...

 

  • System vulnerabilities and weaknesses in software that can leave businesses open to attacks
  • Ransomware that prevents access to your systems until you’ve paid a ransom to the hacker
  • Phishing which tricks users into entering personal information into fraudulent websites
  • Spyware that illegally monitors behaviour, gathers data, and sells this data to third parties
  • Poor, insecure passwords that make it easy for hackers to gain access to your systems
  • SQL injection which adds malicious code into your backend that can harm your database
  • DoS (denial of service) attacks that prevent access to a machine, or to an entire system
  • Physical theft of equipment, which is pretty self-explanatory

 

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?

 

The reason is simple. Right now, businesses hold more data than ever before, even if they don’t realise it.

 

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:

 

1. Firewalls

 

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!

 

2. DNS protection

 

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.

 

3. Antivirus software

 

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.

 

4. Backup, Backup, Backup... did I say backup?

 

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.

 

5. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

 

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!

 

6. GDPR data management

 

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...

  1. Storage limitation (only storing data for as long as necessary)
  2. confidentiality (using methods like encryption to protect personal details)
  3. Purpose limitation (only collecting data for a specific purpose)
  4. Data minimisation (only collecting what’s necessary)

 

7. Disaster recovery

 

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!

 

 

At myCloud, our strategic support services can help you to get a great recovery plan in place. We’ll help ensure you’re able to get back on your feet quicker should things go wrong, minimising downtime and disruption while facilitating excellent business continuity.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter for even more data security tips, or book a call with me – Tim – to find out more about how myCloud can help your business.

 

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