Are you Prepared to Defend your Data for a Secure SMB?
Knowing how to defend your data is crucial for having a secure small- or medium-sized business. Creating, storing and sending data is part of the modern business and with the increase in the use of digital mediums for communication, file storage, and the classification of confidential information in organizations, data protection is a common concern. And it should be, because critical business information spread across various devices, software, and tools is vulnerable to malware and cyber threats even with a secure SMB.
According to the 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, on average the total cost of a data breach for U.S. companies in 2021 was $9.05 million. Hackers use small businesses as a gateway to get to bigger organizations. So small and emerging businesses should pay extra attention to securing their business data.
Types of Data
Before you decide how to defend your data, you need to know what type of data you’re working with.
Customer information can provide businesses with valuable information that can lead to new product ideas, increased sales, improved awareness, and better business decisions. This type of data includes email addresses, names, physical addresses, phone numbers, purchased products, preferences, information from surveys, demographics, and financial information such as bank account, credit, or debit card account numbers.
Corporate Proprietary Data
Corporate proprietary data is confidential to your business only and can’t be disclosed to anyone unless required by the state for legal proceedings. It includes trade secrets, business structure, copyright information, etc.
Corporate Financial Data
All the information associated with the finances, resources, salaries, assets, and liabilities of a business is classified as corporate financial data. Income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets are typical types of financial data formats.
How to Protect Your Business Data for a Secure SMB
It’s one thing to understand the importance of having a secure network to protect your data, but too often small business owners don’t take enough precaution to keep data secure against cyber criminals. Follow these tips to create security enhancements and defend your data:
Secure SMB Protocol
Attacks on data using malware like viruses, worms, keyloggers, trojan horses, and ransomware are some of the classic methods hackers use. You can prevent malware attacks on both your hardware and networks by adding additional security features and taking extra precautions. Some of these precautions include installing antivirus on your business computers and software — but, protection from malware is not solely limited to hardware devices and networks. Malware sometimes hides in emails or on malicious websites, so it’s important to make sure your team knows how to identify malware threats and use best practices to avoid infection.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Whether you are setting up your cloud network, a secure SMB protocol, or any other account, it’s best practice to always use a strong password. However, with time hackers are getting smarter and can easily break down your account credentials. With 2FA, you add an extra layer of security to your account login. With 2FA you get a code on your selected device each time you try to log in. This means unauthorized account access is less likely.
Employee Training and Workshops
Data protection and a secure SMB is not a one-person job. You need to make sure your employees understand the significance of defending business data. To achieve that, incorporating regular employee training into the business culture can help minimize risks. You can choose to have data security workshops on a monthly or annual basis, or opt for online data protection training programs for your staff.
Encrypting files and data during digital transfers will prevent access if an unauthorized person accesses the data or steals it. With encryption tools and other security features, you can make your critical files almost impossible for hackers to compromise. SMB encryption keeps your data safe even if it gets into the wrong hands. Without the necessary decryption code, no one can access the date.
Dispose of Data Responsibly
Getting rid of the old tech assets with piles of your company data is a complicated task. You can’t just throw away anything without proper disposal of the critical data. Your customer data may include credit card numbers, emails, and passwords, as well as your business documents and files on your network.
To make sure no one can access that data, you must overwrite all the deleted files, remove all folders from the computers before recycling them, and completely destroy hard drives. Ensure that your organization correctly removes data. It’s critical to have a corporate end-of-life policy that outlines how to properly handle old hardware and associated data.
Perform Regular Updates
Turn on the automatic updates for all of your software tools and business networks. That’s the easiest way to defend your data. Updates help track any network vulnerabilities and loopholes that may be a security risk for your business. Many updates include SMB security solutions which handle small security leaks and reinforce your business network security.
Secure SMB Use Cloud Applications
If you don’t have enough time, staff, or resources to manage your data security, cloud applications are an alternative. A trustworthy cloud service provider will do everything for you including data storage, organization, network security, and updates. Cloud applications are one of the most reliable options for small businesses looking for high-level business data security.
The rate at which cyber security breaches occur will only continue to increase. However, small businesses can avoid serious consequences by implementing data security enhancements like secure SMB protocols, cloud protection, anti-malware, encryption, 2FA, and employee training.
Visual Edge IT, Inc. (VEIT) specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote office locations. We offer a full line of office technology and services including 24/7 remote monitoring and administration of networks, service desk, and data backup and restore to improve business processes across a variety of industries. Plus, Visual Edge IT™ represents the industry’s leading manufacturers of office technology allowing businesses to get equipment, supplies and service from a single source. Backed by more than 20-years of technology service and a national network of expert engineers, VEIT is uniquely positioned to support business technology needs. The company is headquartered in North Canton, OH, USA. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.