5 Steps for Securing Your Business’ Data

People in a work meeting

It seems that almost every month, another cyberattack on a company, government organization or CEO makes headlines. In fact, a study from the University of Maryland found that attacks on computers with internet access occur, on average, every 39 seconds. It’s safe to say that any level of cyber-attack would pose a real threat to your business, your customer base, your reputation, and your credibility. Which is why taking the security of your company’s data seriously is critical, and the best way to do this is to implement an organizational security strategy.

Here are just a few ways to improve your business’s online security:

Minimize Data Access Points

Businesses are more susceptible to cyberattacks when hackers can gather data from multiple locations. Hackers use rogue access points as a simple way to gain access into business systems to capture sensitive data. Storing information in a single integrated system results in more effective, more secure data and better data management. An enterprise resource planning system, or ERP system, provides an “umbrella” solution that doesn’t silo or duplicate data. That means individuals from accounting, HR, supply chain, operations, and other departments can access and share data from a common location and interface. It’s much easier to manage data security and access permissions when there’s just one point of entry and storage. Plus, organizational leaders can execute role-based security, meaning they can limit data access within an ERP system, based on roles and responsibilities. This ensures only authorized employees can access privileged information, reducing security risks across the board.

Secure Access

Passwords are at the core of every security policy, yet ensuring they’re secure and best practices are enforced isn’t always easy. A password manager built for businesses, like LastPass, can set company-wide minimum password standards to meet your policy requirements. Encouraging employees to stay on top of password security can be difficult; people tend to create weak passwords they can easily remember, and then reuse those same passwords across applications. Not only does LastPass create and remember strong password for each online account, it will also automatically fill in those high-quality passwords the next time the user visits the website. Not only does it take the responsibility off employees to remember hundreds of unique passwords, it also improves the password security of the entire business. Additionally, you should implement multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry to company systems.

Create a Mobile Device Action Plan

It no surprise that employees use their mobile devices at work and sometimes to access company information whether on the corporate network, public networks, or at home, which increases vulnerabilities to hackers. Security measures for employee mobile data should be treated with the same rigor as devices owned by the organization. Requiring employees to password protect their devices, use multifactor authentication, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while their device is on a public network.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks

The convenience offered by Wi-Fi networks make it an essential for today’s work environment. However, many small- to medium-sized businesses lack the resources to properly secure their networks, which can leave their businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. The service set identifier (SSID), or the name of your Wi-Fi network, shouldn’t identify the make and model of your router. The default name out of the box will tell a potential hacker exactly where to look if they want to find documentation that will help them access your network, so be sure to customize the SSID to reflect the name of your business or another key indicator.

Educate your employees

Finally, once you have your security plans in place, ensure you educate employees on cybersecurity best practices and re-educate them on a regular basis. It’s been found that 95 percent of security breaches involve human error, so do your due diligence in educating your workforce, no matter how large or small your company. All the security basics should be covered, including the importance of complex, unique passwords, the risks surrounding ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) and accessing work accounts on public Wi-Fi networks. An easy way to engage employees is by turning security into a game or competition, for example rewarding employees with strong passwords.

As cyber criminals employ more sophisticated strategies, even the most secure companies need to scrutinize their data security practices. Don’t let your organization be the next one to make headlines.