Save Your Small Business from Data Breach Costs
Personal security breaches are becoming an increasingly potent threat, what with the underlying risk of identity fraud and data theft. The recent outcry surrounding phone hacking has certainly heightened personal security concerns, although one of the most common areas of data theft is through breach of IT equipment security. This can prove very costly, particularly for smaller businesses, with the potential of money being stolen as well as fines that might be administered for not having secure safety measures and IT solutions in place. Fortunately, there are many measures that can be put into place so as to ensure that your business is not penalised in such a way.
How am I at risk?
A common way to lose data is through the loss or theft of IT equipment. Hardware such as laptops and storage devices usually contain large amounts of detail about their users, including name, phone number, address and even financial details. Personal details such as these can also be breached via viruses, poor data management and a lack of encryption software.
In addition to this are even more malicious forms of data theft. Customer information being stolen for personal gain and internal attacks from unhappy employees are two examples, as are external piracy and hacking through unauthorized websites and unencrypted connections/networks. Infected e-mails that might look innocent enough are also capable of accessing company data and information.
Due to the growing number of threats to our personal information, the Data Protection Acts was updated in 1998 to ensure that businesses now commit to protecting their customers’ and their own information or be at risk of breaking the law. If a company loses personal data and is found guilty of breaking this law, the person/people can face up to two years in prison. Not only this, but the company will often be administered a fine, as well as suffer considerable damage to their reputation should it be made public.
In order to avoid such damages to the company and to protect the data of their customers, there are a number of actions that can be taken. Firstly, it is crucial to ensure every employee of a company is fully aware of how to safeguard their and their customers’ information through full and thorough training. Passwords should be changed on a semi regular basis and never shared so as not to provide unsolicited access, and all antivirus software and security protocols should be kept up to date so as to negate the risk of external hardware contaminating a centralised system. Similarly, all important data should be encrypted to ensure that it cannot be read or distributed should it fall into the wrong hands.
Effective and secure encryption should always be implemented, particularly with sensitive data. Such procedures ensure that it cannot be bypassed by taking physical possession of a device or by writing to an external device, but should also be easy for all staff to use – efficient but not easily deciphered by a third party.Published in Security, Technology
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