How Can We Prevent a Data Breach?

December 15th, 2021
How Can We Prevent a Data Breach?

In this day and age, small businesses are storing more and more data. Whether it is employee, customer, or company data, it is all in danger of a data breach. Small businesses are particularly in danger of a cyber security data breach. So, this leads to the question “How does my small business prevent a data breach?” Here are a few tips. 

  1. Limit the amount of data you store. Essentially this means keep only what you need. Destroy any data that is superfluous and not needed. Also, minimize the number of places you store this data.  
  2. Keep the data safe. Lock up and physical data that you keep that contains private information. Also conducting employee background checks can limit some of your exposure. Never give vendors access to sensitive data. 
  3. Destroy data before you dispose of it. Shred documents that contain sensitive data. Physically destroy any hard drives or CDs/DVDs that contain sensitive data.  
  4. Educate Employees. Every small business should have a written policy around privacy and data security. Make sure you review and train your employees on this so they know how to handle sensitive data. This includes remembering to lock screens, log off computers, and lock rooms with personal information in them. 
  5. Control Computer Usage. Does your small business have an acceptable use policy? Every small business should. This lays out what employees are allowed to do on company devices. It is important to define this and review it with your team regularly. Here is a sample AUP for you to download. 
  6. Keep Software & Hardware Up to date. I have said this before, but having out-of-date software and hardware opens you up to cyber-attacks. There are times it's okay to wait a few months to update to the latest version of your software if there are compatibility issues but try as much as you can to stay on the latest version of your software programs and don't use servers or workstations that are over 5 years old as a rule of thumb. 
  7. Use Multi-Factor Authentication. You are probably tired of hearing me say this, but you must have MFA on all applications. This is a great way to slow down or prevent a data breach. This means that when you log in to a site or application, a code is sent to your email or to your phone that you have to enter in order to access your account. If you aren't doing this, start now. 
  8. Be careful with Portable media. Portable media such as USB drives and laptops can be susceptible to being lost or stolen. If these contain data that is not encrypted, you can be vulnerable to a data breach. Keep these devices stored somewhere safe and encrypted or avoid using them if possible, for sensitive data storage. 

These are a few of my top tips to avoid a data breach at your small business. If you are a small business located in Florida or Georgia and need help implementing any of these processes, reach out to us and we can help!