As a consumer, you’ve likely had your data leaked in a major data breach. It isn’t a pleasant feeling to know that your private information could be in the hands of criminals. If you own a small business, you definitely don’t want your own customers to have a similar experience. So how can you prevent a data breach from sabotaging your relationships with customers and potentially destroying your profits? You can begin by putting the following tips to work.
Protect Sensitive Customer Information with DLP
If you’re new to internet security, you may be wondering what DLP stands for. Well, data loss prevention refers to the essential processes and tools that can help businesses protect sensitive data from cyber threats and unauthorized access. Because data breaches are so common and can be so damaging to your bottom line, it’s essential to understand DLP and determine how to put policies in place to protect the data that drives the success of your small business. Safeguarding this data will protect your customers and ultimately protect the profits that keep you and your business afloat.
Know Common Threats That Put Customer Data at Risk
Establishing processes around DLP is crucial for any business these days, but it also helps to know what threats target small businesses. Cybercriminals can access your customers’ sensitive data through a variety of tactics, including viruses, spyware, and phishing attacks. Businesses can be especially vulnerable to phishing attacks, which are often carried out via email and have cost American businesses billions every single year. While these attacks tend to be focused on wire transfers, they can affect anyone. Being aware of these threats can help you better determine the steps you should take to protect your business and customers. And if you believe some of your data has been damaged as a result of phishing or viruses, consider bringing in a data-recovery service, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team to help you out. In addition to helping with data loss due to viruses and malware, a data-loss recovery team can help with accidental file deletion and corrupted hard drives, among other issues.
Look for Comprehensive Services to Keep Data Safe
As mentioned above, the threats to businesses and consumers can be varied and widespread. They can impact small businesses and large corporations alike, and fighting these threats takes an all-encompassing security plan. You have to put several layers of security in place to keep data breaches from affecting your profits, including services that provide packet detection, encryption, and email management. All businesses can also benefit from setting up a VPN, or virtual private network. Establishing a VPN can be simple and affordable, but most importantly it can prevent unauthorized access to data on your network.
Offer Thorough Online Security Training to All Staff
You would think that network security is the best way to protect your business and private data. As it turns out, however, your employees can present a much larger threat to information security than a lack of DLP or network privacy. Simple employee mistakes, like leaving their business computer unlocked or opening suspicious emails, can lead to massive data leaks and huge profit losses for your business. You can combat these costly mistakes by providing comprehensive data training and policies to all employees. Best practices and confidentiality agreements should play a role, but employees can also benefit from active training.
Come Up With a Detailed Plan for Handling Data Breaches
Employee training, DLP process, and internet security tools can all help you prevent data breaches from impacting your business. The fact still remains, however, that data breaches can and do happen to all sizes of businesses. That’s why you need to also develop a plan of response to any future data breaches that may occur. Acting quickly and efficiently is the best bet for damage control, so consider taking these steps within the first 48 hours after an attack. Freezing data access is a crucial first step that can prevent any further leaks. You should also prepare a data breach notification that provides transparent information to your customers as well as solutions to prevent future breaches from affecting their data.
Keeping sensitive business and customer information safe from online threats isn’t always easy. But if you want to protect your profits and your trust with customers, developing data protection policies is a must. Otherwise, you could lose more than customers and profits: you could lose your entire business.