Protecting Personal Information: a Guide for Business
Starting a business can be tough, especially when you are a small or medium enterprise working with a tight budget. You have to circumvent many tough terrains. Many people tend to think that the age of online ventures has made things easier.
However, this is very far from the truth, and business owners have to confront significant challenges. While the internet made it easier for people to launch startups, it also brought its own challenges. One of them is security.
Before now, the safety of your business was limited to the structure where it is situated. Secure the building, and your enterprise is well-protected. The advent of the internet ushered in more vulnerabilities.
Minor details like private data can now be used to gain backdoor access to an entire company. As such, business owners need to safeguard personal information in order to prevent such occurrences properly.
Types of Personal Information that Require Security
Before discussing how to prevent the different security threats, we need to understand the type of personal information that can easily become weapons in the wrong hands. Some of them include those stated below:
- Company contracts and agreements
- Passwords and other access details
- Financial and tax records
- General company data that is not available to the public.
- Strategies and business plans.
While some of the things listed above may not seem much, they can easily become access points to hackers. Statistics show that 90% of cyber attacks on small businesses are due to human errors. This means that people can prevent attacks by safeguarding the above information.
More disturbingly, more than 46% of companies that have experienced security breaches have fewer than 1,000 employees. This report by Verizon shows that even small and medium-scale enterprises are susceptible. The research further emphasizes that retail firms are targets for financially motivated attacks.
How to Protect Your Personal Information
The talk of preventing human error can be quite challenging for any commercial enterprise. This is because such firms rely significantly on the input of their employees.
Since this is the case, how do businesses protect their personal information? Well, here are some simple steps to take:
Outsource Repetitive Tasks to AI
Artificial Intelligence is more advanced than ever and now features significant improvements. Thanks to competition from different firms, AI tools are no longer as expensive as they used to be.
Considering the cost and benefits, it is essential for SMEs to incorporate them for repetitive work. Unlike humans, this technology is designed to do the same thing continuously. They will get bored, become demotivated, or lose focus.
It is when employees and business owners are in these emotional states mentioned above that they are most vulnerable. They can easily make mistakes that will hurt the business.
Secure Your Network
With the possibility of human error out of the equation, the next step is to secure your network. This includes both your hardware devices and software packages. Install programs like an antivirus, WiFi guard, or anti-spyware on all company devices.
There are different options like McAfee, Avast, Clario, Kaspersky, Norton, etc., available. Firms should evaluate them and choose the ones more suited to their needs. More importantly, companies should regularly update these software programs to ensure they stay ahead of the security curve.
Unless you must, do not prioritize some devices over other others. Many companies tend to focus on just their ICT departments, which is wrong. If possible, install an iPhone spyware remover on the mobile phones that staff members are using to work for you.
Besides cybersecurity shields, companies must also incorporate cultures that will imbibe safety habits among their workers. Train them on access management and enlighten them about currency security trends. Safety begins with people.
Safeguard Company Data
As mentioned earlier, enterprise information is one of the tools hackers use in exploiting business owners. Phishing scams, for example, are much more efficient when cybercriminal has more information about their victim. Giving someone accurate details about themselves causes such persons to lower their guard significantly.
To curb or prevent this problem, companies need to protect and discard data properly. Shred hard copies of sensitive files before disposing of them. Properly destroy digital copies before replacing computers.
In a case where you have to send private information, ensure to encrypt it before doing so. This will prevent an unwanted third party from accessing the data. Even if a hacker steals the file, their effort will be fruitless as the code will be unreadable.
Create Actionable Contingency Plans
So far, the bone of contention has been about prevention. This is actually a good approach because it makes people proactive and forestalls the unfortunate from happening. However, prevention should not be the only plan in mind.
As a business, you must have a contingency plan in case someone gets past the gate. This does not mean that your security measures are not good enough. Remember, cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving.
The contingency plan should not just be some fancy document that looks fantastic. Instead, it should contain actionable steps that business owners or staff members can take in the case of an eventuality. In addition, it should be detailed and precise, such that everyone knows their specific role.
Modern businesses have to deal with unending cybersecurity threats. One of the reasons for this is that the possible vulnerabilities are expanding. In fact, some hackers are even targeting SMEs, believing that the enterprises have weaker security architecture.
Well-established brands suffer significantly if attempted cyberattacks are successful. Small businesses, on the other hand, may not survive such events. Companies have lost deals due to safety breaches in their security infrastructure.
Despite the risks, businesses can still protect themselves using the tips mentioned above. They can introduce and constantly update preventive measures to ensure they do not fall victim. Furthermore, these firms must also have backup plans to stop any successful hack from causing any serious damage to their operations or reputation.