Protect Customer Data and Company Profits With These Security Tips

Published By: Nicola Reid

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Protect Customer Data and Company Profits With These Security Tips

With so much business happening online these days, and in light of worrying data breach incidents, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to keep their data secure. This is not just an internal issue, either. Customers are also concerned about the safety of their private information and will gravitate away from companies that are in any way suspect when it comes to customer security. Today, Make Directory Developers shares some guidelines for small business owners who want to protect both customer data and their own profitability.

Be aware of different kinds of data breaches.

When it comes to securing your business's data, and that of your customers, knowledge is power. Recognizing the kinds of attacks or risks that are out there is your first step toward maintaining a secure business network. Viruses, worms, spyware, and ransomware are common kinds of cybersecurity attacks most people are likely already aware of. There are also DOS attacks, where malicious traffic overloads a system, phishing attacks, and Trojan horse attacks. Users should especially be aware of rogue security software attacks, when malicious software sends messages warning of a security breach, to induce you to download a program that will actually install malware.

Implement extra security measures.

Always go the extra mile when it comes to any available cybersecurity techniques you can use in your business. The most obvious rule is probably to use good strong passwords that can't easily be guessed or hacked. Ideally, you should implement multi-factor authentication, too, for added safety. And your company should only operate on a secured and hidden network. If you have employees who work from home, they need to have secure Wi-Fi as well. Make sure you have good and updated anti-virus software. And, don't forget physical security, too: office doors should be locked when you are closed, and devices should be secured so that outsiders can't get into your system.

Don't ignore recommendations to update software.

There are many good reasons to keep up with software updates. They will keep your devices running smoothly and maintain an optimized workflow experience for employees. Updating your software also helps protect the life and functionality of your devices and hardware. And software updates happen to be crucial to overall security. Updates introduce new and improved security features and deal with problems with programming that could have made you more vulnerable to security attacks, before.

Hire a cybersecurity specialist.

A cybersecurity specialist can help your company in several ways. They can go over every aspect of your business online and look for any weaknesses and make recommendations or help you repair these areas. They can also assist with configuring your networks to keep them as safe as possible from any kind of attack. And you don't need to hire a cybersecurity professional full time if your business is too small to justify this -- you can find highly skilled freelancers in cybersecurity who will help you keep your network safe so your customers can be assured their data will be protected.

Invest in cybersecurity training for all your team members.

Another way a cybersecurity professional can help you keep your company and data secure is by helping with training your team members. After all, some data breaches happen not because of malicious attacks but because of human error or ignorance. Every employee should be kept abreast of the principles of cybersecurity and understand what they need to do to ensure that customer data is safe with the company. Things like always logging off, never using an open network, and not sharing passwords may seem obvious to some but unfortunately are not obvious to everyone.

Educate yourself as well.

While you don't need to be a digital genius to run a small business successfully, having extra education in information technology can give you an edge, save you time and money, and help you make sure your company's information and networks are secure. While it may seem difficult to incorporate added training into your life as a busy entrepreneur, you can pursue an online master's degree even while balancing your obligations to your business and personal life. With added skills in data analytics or cybersecurity, for instance, you will be better equipped to run a profitable and secure company in the digital age. Best of all, thanks to the flexibility of online study, you can learn at your own pace while you keep working, so that you can incorporate your lessons in real time.

Don't store customer data -- verify it.

Another important step to take towards better network security and customer protection is to avoid storing customer data in your system. This means you will need to implement a customer verification system, however, to avoid issues like fraud. Since customer verification can slow down transactions and create a less positive user experience for customers, you should use verification methods that are relatively painless, such as a "single sign-on" authentication, which allows confirmation by means of logging into widely used platforms such as Google or Facebook.

Have a disaster plan.

Do everything you can to avoid a worst-case scenario situation, yes, but also have a backup plan in case of an attack or other form of a cyber crisis. This is especially important for small business owners because you may imagine that you're safe because you're less in the limelight, and in fact, the opposite is often true. Because cyberterrorists and attackers tend to zero in more on small businesses, perhaps thinking you are less well prepared, be as well prepared as possible and have a recovery plan in place. Some important principles for establishing a plan include having a clear owner of the plan, making it simple to execute, and practicing the plan regularly so you know what to do. The most important thing to do is be sure all your critical information and that of any customers or clients are backed up in the cloud.

For a customer to trust you enough to hand over the information necessary to do business with you, you need to build a reputation for integrity. This means demonstrating that you go above and beyond when it comes to cybersecurity practices.

Make Directory Developers is a digital solutions company that believes in empowering small and medium sized businesses online. We're committed to help educate you on the best technology solutions for your business allowing you to take more time doing what you love. We'd love to hear from you!

Nicola ReidNicola Reid is an entrepreneur and small business owner. She created Business4Today to provide access to the resources members of marginalized groups need to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Through her site, she hopes to support the growing number of people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are taking the leap into small business ownership.