Top tips on keeping client data secure
SME’s often make easier targets data theft. Here we look at how to protect data and how keeping data secure can limit the cost of a data breach.
As a small business you may not think you’re at risk from hacking or data loss, but you shouldn’t be so sure. Often, smaller enterprises are easier targets for hackers precisely because they believe they’re under the radar.
But the truth is that cybercrime cost the UK between £18-27bn in 2013.
Luckily, there are ways you can protect yourself.
Have the right data security policy processes in place
It might sound obvious, but there needs to be rules about use of the workplace network. According to a 2012 survey in the US, 87 per cent of small businesses have no formal cyber security plan. You can be different.
- Protect your WiFi network. Change the default password and use WPA2 encryption. Disabling the service set identifier (SSID) will mean the name of the network will not show up on the Windows or Mac list of available networks. This will make you harder to find by opportunistic hackers
- Install anti-malware and anti-virus protection, and download updates as soon as they’re available — patches are often to prevent attacks by hackers
- Educate your employees about the dangers of phishing scams, bogus emails containing malware, and also about the importance of good data security and backing up.
Data security methods
For most companies, there are loads of ways they can protect their own and client data. What’s important is to realise that no one procedure is totally secure. Instead, use multiple approaches to keep your data as safe as possible.
- Encrypt your data—this is easy to set up, and could save you from low level attacks. Most operating systems will have their own encryption software which is easy to use
- Keeping hardware safe is also essential for data security. Using Kensington locks to physically secure equipment, securing server rooms, and putting away mobile devices can prevent theft. This stops access to your network on stolen devices. There are also services to help track stolen items
- Staff bringing in their own devices is a major risk. WiFi-enabled phones, tablets and laptops could have security breaches. If so, they’ll allow hackers directly into your company.
Backing up data
The final way you can lose data is through the physical damage to a computer that hasn’t been backed up. Anyone who’s lost the file they’re working on will know how frustrating it is. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions.
- Backing up to a drive on site can prevent data loss from human error or drive damage. However, if there’s a fire or flood, onsite backup is still vulnerable
- External online backup is also an option. There are a number of companies offering backup services, and cloud solutions could be cheaper than you think
- If you want to go all out, you can build your own cloud. This involves having offsite storage, and will be costly up front, but prevents the difficulties of handing over data to third parties.
To insure yourself against legal action if the worst happens with client data, you should consider getting professional indemnity insurance. It can cover the cost of legal expenses, helping to keep your business safe if a claim is made against you.