5 Data Security Risks
1. No data security policies – and poor enforcement
A small business needs to reflect upon its own policies to see whether data security is imbibed into their work culture. Without a security policy, most businesses end up vulnerable to attacks and most of them fail to contain breaches due to non-existent post-breach policies.
SMBs should ensure data protection policies are put in place, communicated to employees, insiders and customers, and strictly implemented. In fact, 80% of organizations, regardless of size, believe managing and monitoring end-user privileges and entitlements is the most important security measure against data breaches.
2. No one’s monitoring systems for potential breaches
A bit of bad code is going to do its best to mind its own business while stealing from your business, and could go on for months, compromising passwords, copying documents and even stealing identities. You need software that frequently searches your systems for attack vectors, updates protections, and administers patches where needed. One best practice is to subscribe to a managed IT security service from a trusted partner.
3. No employee training
A company’s greatest asset—its employees—can also be its weakest link, especially in an era wherein mobility and accessibility play a huge role in enhancing productivity.
Whether purposefully or unintentionally, your employees can wreak havoc on your company’s data, networks and programs. The companies that understand this are establishing additional layers of ground level security and training employees in the basics of digital security. Employees need to know what actions open the company up to risk, and which actions are preferred. If you have a BYOD policy in place, there should also be some intentional conversation about what information can be accessed on devices.
4. Employee mobility may prove disastrous
Mobile devices enable the workforce to access data from virtually anywhere at any time, allowing greater flexibility and productivity. Freedom, however, may come at a price. Research shows that 56% of employees very frequently or frequently stored sensitive data on their laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. This means there is more than a 50% chance that confidential information can land in the wrong hands should they lose these devices.
Employees’ personal devices are unlikely to have the same level of security as corporate devices, and may be significantly easier for hackers to compromise. Companies that allow BYOD should ensure they have a strict BYOD policy in place that they ensure all employees follow. Steps such as only allowing access to company networks through a virtual private network (VPN), and ensuring employees implement 2FA on all their accounts are definite steps that should be included in such a policy.
5. Lack of authentication
Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.
In an era where data is money and cybercrime is a real threat, small businesses need to understand that the cost of data breaches is higher than the cost of implementing security systems.
After all, small businesses are large corporations in their nascent stage. Any breach at such a stage may prove to be detrimental to the future of the entire business. Mending the above-mentioned loopholes and devising secure measures for protecting your business will prove to be efficient in protecting yourself against security threats. A little precaution and smart work can help you protect millions. Keeping a vigilant eye on the events in your surroundings will definitely help you stay in business and rise to the top.
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