Security and privacy are at the very top of priorities when considering business IT. Major data leaks are in mainstream news on a near-daily basis and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of customers are impacted every time they happen. The goal should be to make sure our businesses are kept out of danger.
Major institutions, such as multi-national banks and credit card companies, are expected to handle your data well. Unfortunately, less secured businesses require access to our data too.
Even just booking into a hotel often requires you to leave personal details. These few pieces of information are often more than enough to steal your identity, start a line of credit, and access many of your vital services. You can often only hope your chosen hotel handles your information as well as your bank does.
Securing Your Business with Smarter Thinking
There is no way to change how your favourite hotel service operates, but you can affect your own business to improve its security for your customers.
You don’t need the manpower or funding of a major banking chain to handle data securely. With simple tweaks and powerful changes, you can minimize the chances of your business suffering a data breach big enough close your doors for good.
By stepping up IT security to meet modern threats, you can help to limit your liability, put customer’s minds at ease and give your firm a competitive advantage.
Limit Your Data Collection
The single most important thing to consider when securing your business is how much data do you really need to hold anyway? Carefully consider the value of every piece of personal information you collect in any given transaction. Do you have a use for everything you ask for?
Emails, addresses, and contact numbers are useful for receipts and marketing, but additional data many firms collect is often useless and wasteful. Each piece of unnecessary data you hold represents additional value to hackers and thieves. While you may be unable to use your own stored data, hackers will find great value in gathering more personal information. This increases your liability without adding any extra value.
Clearly, the recent GDPR regulations also apply, so it isn’t just good practice to run through the details that you keep.
Consider Your Access Requirements
Think carefully about who has access to information within your business and precisely why they need to access it. Often security problems begin when employees have blanket privileges to access everything within the firm.
Access restrictions should be specific to the company structure. Employees should be limited to only what is strictly required for their role. Managers, for example, are likely to need systems that their junior staff cannot access.
Physical access restrictions are critical too. Unattended computers and mobile devices should require a password or identity verification to log on – preferably without other people knowing the password or leaving the password on a post-it note!
Treating Data with Care
The way you treat your data in day-to-day business reflects the impact hackers or IT disaster will have on your business when it is lost. Do you know where your backups are, and when they were last tested?
Firms often first know they are in trouble when they realize all their data is stored on a business laptop or device that could be easily lost or stolen. Some firms maintain backups on USB drives or shuttle a portable hard drive between home and work.
Protecting your customers and your business is all about the smart application of IT knowledge in a cost-effective and efficient way.
We can help you to protect the most valuable assets your business owns – data. Call us on 01455 209505.