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How to improve data security with confidence

RobertChecketts

 

The need for businesses to improve data security has never been greater than it is today. Yet many small and midsize business owners and leaders feel less than confident in their organization's ability to protect their data from the increasing number of evolving cybersecurity threats. Recent high-profile attacks and data leaks only confirm the need to be concerned about protecting sensitive proprietary and customer information.

How can your SMB build confidence in its ability to improve data security? Start by following these key steps so you can monitor threats and take action on any weak points in your security.

Train employees to deal with data emergencies

Numerous security threats, such as Trojan horses, phishing emails, ransomware, and distributed denial of service attacks, target employees who aren't likely to recognize the dangers they pose to sensitive data. It is essential, IT Business Edge writes, to educate employees about cybersecurity and to hold regularly cybersecurity trainings.

An educated workforce is a secure workforce. Coordinate and conduct frequent training sessions with your employees to make sure that they're abreast of common security threats.

Require strong passwords

Employees who pay little attention to their passwords invite the possibility of a serious data breach. Address this risk by instituting and strictly enforcing a strong password security policy. By compiling and circulating a list of easily hacked passwords or password variations, you'll make it clear that such passwords aren't acceptable. Make sure to specify that employees aren't permitted to swap passwords for the sake of convenience.

Install malware protection

Many free and legitimate antivirus software programs offer protection against malware. If your budget permits, consider antimalware solutions that offer more comprehensive protection against unauthorized access to information.

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Protect your mobile devices

Whenever employees download programs or apps from questionable sources, the chances of hacking or mobile malware increase. Instruct employees to avoid storing any vital business data on their mobile devices to protect that data from theft. It should also be standard policy that no employee can download an app on a business-owned device unless it's been evaluated and approved by your IT team.

Ensure off-site data security

SMBs are an attractive target to hackers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration; they play a key role in driving the supply chain and economy, but they have fewer resources than their big-business counterparts to protect their information, systems, and networks. This is especially true when workers are off-site; public Wi-Fi networks in airport lounges, hotel rooms, coffee shops, and elsewhere are breeding grounds for hacking and information theft.

To ensure that sensitive data is protected when employees are in public spaces and on public networks, every business should:

  • Encrypt every mobile device it owns.
  • Always use a virtual private network for Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Require employees to log out after every active session.
  • Require two-factor authentication.
  • Emphasize to employees the importance of keeping tablets, phones, or other mobile devices used for business with them at all times.

Use caution with attachments and web links

Hackers commonly disguise their attempts to surreptitiously access private data as legitimate emails with seemingly benign links and attachments. If you train employees to recognize questionable email attachments and unreliable websites, you'll mitigate the risk of an employee downloading a virus.

Strengthen your data-backup routine

Presumably you have a data backup schedule in place, but there's always more that can be done—especially by data service providers who specialize in comprehensive backup protection. Service providers can often institute a higher standard of security—in terms of backup, monitoring, installing upgraded hardware, etc.—than a business can on its own.

Regardless of size, every business should prioritize data protection. By prioritizing data security and combining security-forward practices and strong network security products, you can keep your business information and customer data safe and secure.

For more information on how to protect your business from the havoc of a security breakdown, check out the "world's most secure industry-standard servers".

Discover affordable IT solutions for your business.

Ready to take the next step? Check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies Guide. Because there are no “dumb” questions!

Or are you ready to purchase? Visit the HPE Store.

 

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About the Author

RobertChecketts

Robert has over 25+ years of IT Marketing and Product Management leadership experience spanning country, Regional and WW organizations. Robert is a marketing executive with extensive experience in field marketing, channel marketing and product marketing on a global basis and is driven to deliver SMB’s end-to-end affordable infrastructure that’s secure from the start, optimized for every workload, packaged for many consumption models, ready to scale, and easy to manage.

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