The digital age has resulted in more processes being completed online for the average business. There are so many tools that can be used not only to make a job easier but also to automate other parts of the job. These advantages come with risks that can deter businesses from adopting technology. Data loss prevention has now become a focus as over the last few years there have been massive amounts of data stolen. Customer and employee data are both going to be the targets of hackers/viruses. Large corporations that are household names have been hacked including Sony, Home Depot, and even retail giant Target. Reducing the chances for a hack is important as there are a plethora of vulnerable areas for the average business. The following are risks that need to be reduced when it comes to protecting company data.
The wrath of a disgruntled employee might not stop at deleting important parts of data or changing account information. The breach of data becomes far more serious if important information has been given to direct competitors. Always handle the termination of an employee in the proper way. This will reduce the chances of this happening will not eliminate it totally. Changing the passwords of the employee’s accounts immediately as they are being let go is important. Far too many people get upset and might want to wreak havoc one last time due to heightened emotions.
Paperwork needs to be created during the hiring process that will hold the employee legally liable if they leak information. Most people will not risk going to court especially if they are at fault and have just lost a stable job. Do not let a former employee drag the company down any further. Making sure all access to accounts/emails are terminated before they return to their desk is imperative.
Third-Party Apps Used
The integration of apps and other tools is common in business. A large number of business solutions can make for seamless integration and optimized processes at a business of any size. The importance of taking a look at the security measures used by an app cannot be more important. If you are integrating an app with QuickBooks then it needs to be secure. The accounting software has a myriad of important information on the company and clients. Do not download anything that is not available on either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. These apps are investigated to make sure they are not used to steal information. Keep in mind that the security of the app is not scrutinized as vigorously.
Keep Employees Informed
The last thing employees want is data to be compromised as this can lead to a string of negative events. Losing clients is the number one risk along with being legally liable for the data that has been stolen. Client emails that seem off in some way should be addressed with a call. Sending over payment information that has already been sent over multiple times can be a sign of an email being hacked. Emails should be sent to staff weekly addressing the different risks and scams that are prevalent. The email should include some best practices as staff might forget certain aspects of staying secure online. Below are a few tips for policies that should be enforced:
- Devices that are used personally and for the business need to have certain security apps.
- For no reason should an employee respond to an email unless they are sure of who it came from. Scammers often pose as a business you work with in order to update your payment information. This information is then stolen and can be used for nefarious purposes.
- Passwords need to be changed routinely and access to the list of passwords should be restricted.
- Apps should not be installed on company devices unless previously approved by management after a risk assessment.
Keep Certain Files/Information/Logins on a Need to Know Basis
There are going to be files like that of human resource files that are going to be far more sensitive than information like marketing leads. Important information can be stolen by staff just in case they are terminated. The last thing that you want is a vindictive member of the staff stealing social security numbers of people they do not get along with in the office. Make sure staff does not share their personal logins as these are usually similar for nearly every account a person has.
Preventing a data breach cannot be undervalued as this can immediately ruin a relationship between a company and its clients/staff. Take the safe approach by addressing this immediately instead of trying to do damage control once important data has been stolen.