Securing your business data in 2020 can be a real dilemma. Even large corporations like Target, Equifax and Yahoo have struggled to fend off crippling—and now infamous—cyberattacks of late. Unfortunately, the scene is even worse for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The fact is some 43% of SMBs say they have experienced a cyber-attack of some form over the past year, according to SmallBizTrends.com. Even worse a reported 60% of small businesses go under within six months of a cyber-attack.
Clearly, if you want to avoid tragedy as a small business owner in 2020, you’re going to need to focus on creating robust data security solutions.
So, is your business secure? If not, here are a couple of tips to help get you started:
Know What You Need To Secure
The first step in securing your business data in 2020 is knowing what you need to secure and creating a plan to secure it.
According to an Accenture survey, customer records are the most common target of data breaches (66%), followed by intellectual property (49%), then credit and debit card Information at (46%) and finally company financial information (26%).
It’s vital to secure names, physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, billing information, and the like with strong encryption services, secure backup software, and powerful antivirus protection.
Also, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report 30% of all data breaches are attributable to insider threats. That means SMBs need to be careful who they trust. Employees also need to create strong passwords and managers must be able to easily restrict access to sensitive information.
Finally, it’s important to secure data both in-transit and at rest. That means securing any communications that contain sensitive data, not just data storage systems. Also, don’t forget to simply maintain updated computers and security software to prevent hackers from getting in old, now closed, backdoors.
Encrypt Sensitive Backup Data
Encrypting data is the process of coding data in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. The importance of encrypting business data in 2020 really can’t be overstated.
In fact, a recent survey from Business Wire found that some 81% of consumers would stop interacting with a brand online after a data breach. Of course, no company, let alone SMBs, can afford to lose 81% of their customers.
Encryption software utilizes encryption algorithms to re-code your business data both in transit and at rest so that only authorized employees within your company who have access to a digital key called a cipher can access it.
PCmag has an extensive list of the best encryption software on the market for you to choose from. It’s important to get software that encrypts data in transit and during storage, as well as one that has a secure deletion of original code.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are another great tool for encryption. These services encrypt your internet traffic, that way—as long as you have encrypted your HTTPS site as well—every aspect of your business data will be encrypted.
Get Secure Data Management Software
Securing your data as a small business can be a daunting challenge. Thankfully there is data management software out there to make things easier.
The best data management software offers both cloud storage(online) and Linear Tape-Open (LTO) offline storage (for low cost, long term storage solutions) to help protect business data. Taking business data that doesn’t need to be accessed regularly offline through the use of LTO storage solutions is a great way to be 100% sure your data is secure.
Unlike cloud storage solutions, which can always be hacked even with the best of security, as long as your LTO tape is physically secure, you can be 100% sure of your data security. Encrypting data, and utilizing data management software that prioritizes security is great, but the ultimate in data security will always be hard drive storage.
Finally, data management systems can help automate access to protected documents and data, so that only cipher key holders can gain entry (instead of all employees). As SMBs it’s crucial to use every tool at your disposal to fight back against modern hackers, data management software is step one.
Don’t Forget Physical Security
In this digital age, it might amaze you to find out that physical attacks on insecure hardware are often the means of entry for hackers into complex, virtually secure systems. The reality is ‘hybrid’ physical and virtual data breaches are now one of the most common threats to Fortune 500 companies.
As SMBs it’s important not to forget about physical security. A single infected USB can ruin your entire company. That means, not only do you need to encrypt your business data online, but you might want to restrict employee and visitor access to files, folders, or even certain areas of the office.
You might also want to consider buying privacy screen protectors to keep passwords safe in the office. After all, as we’ve discussed 30% of all cyber-attacks are inside jobs.
Physical security is the easiest step in securing your business data, but it is also the most often overlooked.
Educate Your Staff About Data Security
Hackers will always have an advantage when it comes to cybersecurity. Still, there is a lot you can do to help secure your business data through data management software, data encryption services and the physical protection of virtual assets.
Unfortunately, if your staff isn’t educated about the risks of data breaches and the importance of data security it may all be for nothing. There needs to be clear data handling and management standards and practices in every SMBs.
You can even consider creating a data security team to do regular check-ups on the company’s cyberattack readiness. Above all, constant, open communication about cybersecurity should always be the priority.
In 2020, it’s a strange, scary cyber world out there, full of online predators looking to take down SMBs. On top of that consumers have begun to realize they shouldn’t associate with brands that can’t keep their data secure. That means cybersecurity should be priority number one for SMBs this year.
Data security is no longer a master’s class, it’s a prerequisite.