How to Keep Your Business Ahead of a Data Breach

Aug 8, 2019

Experts have long said it’s a matter of when, not if, you will suffer a data breach. This is a scary situation for any small or midsize business to be in. Breaches could cost millions, and you most likely don’t have that kind of cash to spare.

While preventing a data breach isn’t always possible, you’re not entirely without options. There are plenty of precautions you can take to stave off these damaging attacks, protecting your company and customers. Here are a few strategies to keep your North Dakota business or South Dakota business ahead of a data breach.

Layers of Protection
You don’t just protect your home with a door, you install locks and an alarm system, and maybe even an attack dog. In other words, you use many layers of protection to keep your home safe. You should take the same approach when protecting confidential data for your business.

A firewall is a good start, but you also need antivirus programs, password protection, and possibly encryption or VPN to ensure data security. With proper safety measures in place, you can prevent a large number of potential attacks and meet your obligations to keep consumer and company data private.

Upgrade Password Policies and Procedures
Passwords that limit access to approved personnel are a must, but they only offer the protection you need if you use them wisely. This means you have to take steps to make passwords unbreakable.

Start with long passwords of 12 or more characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You could also make employees change passwords quarterly and lock them out immediately when they no longer work for the company. You might want to add two-factor authentication or biometrics for access. These upgraded protections can significantly decrease the potential for breach via stolen or hacked passwords.

Train Employees
One of the biggest potential weak spots when it comes to data breach is your employees. All they have to do is visit shady websites, click links in emails, or download the wrong file and they can create an entry point for unscrupulous hackers. With regular training, you can help employees to avoid dangerous behaviors and understand the potential consequences of their actions.

Plan for Recovery
If you want to protect your business, you can’t just plan for prevention. You also have to create a disaster recovery plan should the worst-case scenario occur. If you are breached and data is stolen, corrupted, erased, or held for ransom, you need a backup of data in place so you can reboot once you’ve halted the attack.

Create an ITAD Strategy
Don’t forget, data breaches can occur long after computer equipment and devices have outlived their usefulness. If decommissioned devices fall into the wrong hands, they could still yield data that leads to a breach and/or identity theft. To prevent this, you’ll want to partner with a certified ITAD service provider that secures devices throughout the chain of custody. Choose a company who will shred or wipe hard drives in compliance with applicable privacy laws, data security certifications. They should be able to provide you with a verifiable Certificate of Destruction and Recycling for your records, backed by their industry certifications such as R2 and/or e-Stewards.

If you’re looking to protect your North Dakota business or South Dakota business from the risk of data breach when you no longer need equipment or devices, contact the trusted professionals at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote.