How to Keep Your Business Ahead of a Data Breach

Aug 8, 2019

Pundits have long said it’s a matter of when, not if you suffer a data breach. This is a scary situation for any small or midsize North Dakota business to be in. Breaches could cost millions, and you probably 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 business ahead of a data breach.

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

A firewall is a good start, but you also need antivirus programs, password protection, and maybe even 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 data private.

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

Start with long passwords of 12 or more characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It could mean making employees change passwords quarterly, and locking 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, shreds or wipes them in compliance with applicable privacy laws, and provides Certificates of Destruction and Recycling for your records.

If you’re looking to protect your North 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.