We are living in the era of the data breach. Huge companies such as Equifax and Marriott have recently had their customer data stolen which has become big news. When an event like this happens, not only is it dangerous for those who’s information was stolen, it is potentially devastating for the business that is hacked. It is a business’s responsibility to protect their customer’s (and employee’s) information. Below you will find some tips on how to prevent a data breach that we hope will help you protect the valuable information you store.
Tips For Preventing A Data Breach
When you run a business, customers and clients entrust you with some of their most valuable information. Formulating best practices for safe storage of information is paramount. Here are a few of the most important points to focus on to prevent a data breach:
- Only store the information you need. If a piece of information isn’t necessary for you to properly conduct business, it shouldn’t be kept. The best practice would be to not even collect information that isn’t necessary. If you do collect it but wish to discard or delete it, ensure that it is done properly.
- Use proper password protection and strong passwords. Passwords are the key to accessing any digitally stored data. All employees should use strong passwords (at least 12 characters, a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters) and they should all be stored using the same, secure password manager. Click here for more in-depth instructions on proper password protection.
- Use quality security software and keep it up to date. Every computer and device used to access data should be outfitted with state-of-the-art virus protection and firewalls.
- Properly train and educate your employees. Your company should have a written policy regarding data security, password protection and proper internet/e-mail usage. Your employees should be trained in these policies and what/what not to do when using the internet.
- Restrict access to personal information. Only the employees that need access to personal information should be granted permissions to access information.
- Destroy any physical data if it must be disposed. Any paperwork with sensitive information that is to be discarded must be cross-cut shredded first. Even data on a hard drive requires software designed to permanently wipe the information. Deleting files or reformatting a drive does not get rid of data. You may even need to destroy the hard drive. Any CD’s, DVD’s or portable media with personal data must be destroyed before disposal.
Proper data storage should be of utmost importance to any business. Constantly reviewing policies to stay on top of how to prevent a data breach is something that all businesses must do. Use the tips provided here to do just that.