Data security and its benefits for small businesses

Data security and its benefits for small businesses

Cyber threats not only affect large companies and governments, they can also affect small businesses. According to research, nearly half of small businesses have suffered a cyberattack and 69% are concerned about future attacks. Small businesses should be aware of cyber security statistics and take tangible steps to protect their businesses against cyber attacks.

Employee records, customer information, loyalty schemes, transactions and data collection are critical pieces of information that businesses must protect. This is to prevent third parties from using the information for fraudulent purposes, such as phishing scams and identity theft.

Protecting your business from cyberattacks is critical, but some business owners are unsure how to do it.

Data Security

Data security is the practice of keeping data safe from unauthorized access or corruption.

Data protection involves safeguarding not only your company’s data, but also that of your customers and suppliers.

Data encryption, hashing, tokenization and key management are data security strategies that protect data across applications and platforms.

Unfortunately, small businesses seem to be a much easier target for hackers, as their security systems are often less advanced than those of a medium or large company. Despite this fact, most small business owners believe that they are not vulnerable to a data breach.

Why the need for data security?

To protect their critical assets, organizations around the world are investing heavily in information technology (IT) cybersecurity capabilities. Every company needs to protect its brand, intellectual capital and customer information. It must also provide controls for critical infrastructure. However, incident detection and response has three fundamental elements: people, process and technology.

Cybersecurity issues and their effect on small businesses.

What are the security risks facing small businesses?

Small businesses may not have the operational knowledge or employees to adequately protect their IT systems and networks.

Small businesses face a variety of cybersecurity challenges, including:

§ Phishing attacks: Phishing refers to a type of social engineering attack that is frequently used to obtain users’ personal data, including login credentials and credit card details.

§ Malware attack: Malware attacks are common cyber attacks in which malware (usually malicious software) performs unauthorized actions on the victim’s system.

§ Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of crypto-virology malware that threatens to expose or permanently limit access to the victim’s personal information unless a ransom is paid.

Because the world of cybersecurity is constantly changing, you will need to commit to monitoring and updating your network security on a regular basis to reap these benefits. This will help you stay current and secure.

§ Insider threats: Insider threats are often the result of poor access controls or lack of adequate staff training. Hostile employees or former employees may perpetrate cyber-attacks within the company, posing insider threats.

§ Weak passwords: Passwords that are not sufficiently secure can expose a company to unauthorized access and security risks.

From redborder we advise a combination of at least eight different letters, numbers and symbols in your password to make it secure. It is more difficult to guess a password that is longer and contains more types of characters (including upper and lower case letters). For example, M0l#eb7Qs? uses a unique combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. It is also recommended to change passwords every 90 days or less.

What is the effect of an attack?

A successful cyber attack on your business can be devastating. It can have a negative impact on your financial bottom line, as well as your company’s reputation and consumer confidence. A security breach has three main consequences: financial, reputational and legal.

Financial cost of a cyber attack

Cyber breaches often cause significant financial loss due to:

§ Unauthorized access to corporate data

§ Theft of corporate data

Theft of financial information (e.g. bank details or payment card details) § Theft of funds

§ Theft of funds

Business interruption (e.g., inability to perform online transactions) § Loss of contract or business

§ Loss of contract or business

In addition, companies would typically pay fees to remediate affected systems, networks and devices as part of their response to the breach.

Organizations should carefully review password security policies and password management, as stolen or weak passwords remain the most common cause of data breaches.

Damage to the company’s reputation.

A good customer relationship should be based on trust. Cyber-attacks can damage your company’s reputation and reduce customers’ trust in you. Ultimately, this could result in:

§ Loss of customers

§ Decreased sales

§ Decreased profits

Reputational damage can also have a negative impact on your relationships with partners, investors, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Legal consequences of a cyber-attack

Privacy and data protection laws require you to manage the security of all personal data you hold, whether it relates to your customers or your staff. You may be subject to regulatory fines and penalties if this data is compromised unintentionally or on purpose, and you fail to implement the necessary data security measures.

Essential tips for data security

1. Manage mobile devices, applications and IT operations

To ensure the user experience is as seamless as possible, manage important applications rather than the device itself. Also, make sure everything you do is transparent, especially when it comes to your employees’ devices.

2. Enable secure collaboration

To ensure your staff has access to the information they need, set up secure data-sharing tools.

If you send sensitive information via email, make sure you have set up a digital rights management system (or other secure email solution).

3. Reduce exposure to malware

Create a training plan that ensures your employees receive proper awareness training on a regular basis.

It would be helpful if you also consider using an email protection solution that includes click-through protection to guard against the inevitable human error.

Implement regulations and procedures that limit specific actions, such as checking personal emails at work or installing applications from a trusted source, among other things.

4. Prevent data loss via email

Data loss prevention (DLP) skills can help your company’s data security. Identify how DLP can be implemented in your workflow.

Also, limit the circulation of specific emails or files, or impose a digital rights management condition that limits who has access to information.

5. Establish other key security measures

Protecting your company’s data is crucial, especially in today’s world of remote work. Antivirus software, network scanning, firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), AI-enabled behavioral monitoring, data encryption and other security measures can be used.

6. Focus on sensitive data

The sensitive data you are storing and processing may be an asset, but it is also a liability in terms of security and compliance. It is important to always know where sensitive data (such as personally identifiable information) is stored and implement measures such as dynamic data masking to protect its anonymity and maintain its value.

Benefits of Data Security for Small Businesses

Small businesses that take data security seriously and take strategic steps to improve it are less likely to suffer attacks.

These businesses will also be able to meet their compliance obligations more efficiently and avoid reputational damage. All of these factors make business more convenient and profitable.

Here are some proven strategies to help your business realize these benefits while avoiding cyber threats.

§ Protect your business from external threats

Outsiders were responsible for more than 70% of data breaches this year.

Minimizing external risks requires the use of comprehensive device security measures and the right cybersecurity software.

§ Protect your business from insider threats

While insider threats are not as widespread as externally perpetrated attacks, they still deserve special attention.

Many of these attacks are absolutely preventable. While hostile employees or former employees can always cause problems, many insider attacks are the result of poor access controls or lack of staff training.

§ Make sure your company complies with regulations

It is very important to ensure that your company complies with data protection regulations.

When it comes to data protection, several companies are already living up to expectations by stepping up their cybersecurity.

Many regulatory agencies now require you to make the necessary efforts to protect your company and its data from hackers. You could risk substantial fines or business restrictions if you don’t comply.

§ Ensure the security of customer data.

It’s not just regulators who are concerned about data security. Consumers have become more interested in how companies protect their data; their awareness of the risks to organizations that hold large amounts of personal data has increased.

In addition, if you can establish an active dedication to data protection, you can gain long-term loyal customers and increase your revenue.

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common among small businesses, but you don’t have to be affected. You can avoid falling victim to preventable cyberattacks by implementing the necessary security measures, from employee training to the right cybersecurity software. Not only will this save you time and effort, but it will also save you money by avoiding lost revenue, regulatory fines and other costs.

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