Since the invention of the Internet, the expeditious development of technology was inevitable. An ample window of opportunities has opened. It provided users all around the globe with an endless sea of possibilities. But, the sea has brought along some stormy clouds – hacking and viruses.
Many programs, like password managers, spyware, and malware software have been invented in order to fight these security risks. Since 1988, a technology holiday known as Computer Security Day is celebrated on November 30th. In the sea of technology-related holidays, this might be the most important one. It raises awareness about a crucial issue – data protection.
Business Data Protection
There are several ways to ensure the safety of your business and/or personal data. In this article, we are going to focus on business data protection. Of course, much of this can be applied to personal data as well. These are the security steps that we will be discussing today:
- Raising Security Awareness
- Security Training Programs for Employees
- Data Encryption
- Password Management
- Security Software Enablement and Update
Let’s go through them, one by one. You can tick off those you already use and start using some new ones.
Raising Security Awareness
Prior to any training programs, organize an informational meeting about computer security in general. Some of your employees may think that anti-viruses or firewalls solve all possible security issues. On the other hand, there are those who know a lot about this subject. What is more, they might be willing to share their knowledge. Be that as it may, there are always experts who can give lectures or training lessons. This way, all of your employees will be equally informed. Moreover, they will perform the same security actions.
As for your obligations as an employer, there are a couple of things you can do. For example, you can make a list of acceptable devices that are allowed to connect to the network. Thus, you will prevent unauthorized devices from accessing your network. Also, you can provide the best file-sharing program for your business data. Don’t forget to warn your employees not to use any other similar programs, especially those from unsafe websites. Moreover, set the basic rules for providing and maintaining computer security. Make sure that all of your employees follow the guidelines thoroughly.
Security Training Programs for Employees
Every company should provide security training programs for their employees in order to provide business data protection. There are many types of steps that should not be omitted from the program. Today, we are going to describe some of the most important ones:
- Social Networking Dangers
- Email Scams
- Physical Security and Environmental Controls
- Safe Internet Habits
- BYOD Policy
Social Networking Dangers
When a company creates a profile on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, it has to allow certain permissions. This move can sometimes drive the company into a dangerous zone. Not long ago, some of the aforementioned social networks sold users’ data to third-party app developers without the users’ permission. Prevent similar things from happening to your company. Warn your employees to limit their social network activities related to your company. They should avoid installing third-party apps. Also, they should read carefully the content of a web page prior to providing any credentials.
As far as emails are concerned, they can provoke much more danger than you can imagine. Prior to providing any piece of information, double-check the source of an email. Also, it is smart to avoid opening suspicious emails, let alone following the links or banners within them. They will most likely lead you to unsafe web locations. If possible, check with the sender whether they have actually sent the attachment or not before downloading it. Another thing that can help with data protection is filtering the Spam folder.
Physical Security and Environmental Controls
The physical aspect of security is often neglected, especially the so-called “shoulder surfing”. Believe it or not, there are people who tend to watch over your shoulder as you type in your credentials. These are usually newcomers and visitors. Some may be doing it unconsciously, but others might be curious for malicious reasons. You can never be too careful, so watch your back. Avoid leaving important information on pieces of paper on your desk where everyone can easily find them. Instead, store them carefully in the form of protected documents or on your Google Drive. Never leave your computer in Sleep mode, rather shut it down and protect it with a password.
Safe Internet Habits
Teach your employees to avoid phishing attacks and to refrain from installing software programs from unreliable sources. Most of the free programs for allegedly securing your computer’s safety are actually malicious. They can cause great damage rather than help. Also, it is best to disable pop-up windows, as they can lead to possible online traps. This is a very simple task that can be done in a few minutes. Just add an extension to your browser and there will be no more annoying and dangerous pop-ups coming your way.
If you want to implement a BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) policy, you should carefully plan each step. Make a list of acceptable and banned devices prior to allowing your employees to use their own at the office. It goes without saying that each of the allowed devices should be password-protected in case of stealing. Moreover, the applications installed on accepted devices need to be specified in order to provide maximum security. You can also make a list of applications that are safe to download and use at work.
Encrypted data, or ciphertext, is one of the currently most popular safety methods. Companies all over the world use it actively. Without an encryption key or password, you cannot access either asymmetric or symmetric type of this protected file.
The fundamental function of data encryption is to ensure the safety of digital data. Of course, this is extremely important for business owners. In order to turn your plaintext into ciphertext, you will need an encryption algorithm and an encryption key. The person who receives the file should have the encryption key. It will help them decrypt and view the file in its original form. The encryption key depends on a type of encryption. In the case of symmetric encryption, the same secret key is used for both file encryption and file decryption. Contrary to this, asymmetric cryptography uses one public and one secret encryption key.
In addition, there are many data loss prevention programs. They are able to automatically encrypt important data while you are writing an email. It is a simple solution that can add a crucial layer of security to your company.
It is strongly advisable to have backup hardware in your server room. This way, your data is constantly being stored in a safe physical location. Moreover, it can be accessed from all of your trusted work devices, which makes this even more convenient. Even though this might not be a very cheap solution, it is certainly a wise one.
Automatic Data Synchronization
Another way to ensure safety is to add features for automatic synchronization of data and backups. You can also choose a software solution for data storage. If you happen to be an eCommerce store owner, the best solution for you is certainly Magento Business Intelligence. On a single platform, you can store, analyze, and share all of your business data. If your business belongs to another industry, you can choose an appropriate solution accordingly. But, bear in mind that it is recommended to avoid downloading free backup software.
Are you considering one of the cloud-based solutions? You can try this one.
When it comes to passwords, most people make the same mistake. They use the same combination for all of their accounts. It is usually a very simple password. In most of the cases, it is just a simple mix of letters and numbers. No capital letters, no special characters. In other words, it is extremely easy to crack. If you use your name and date of birth as password, change it immediately. Otherwise, our business or personal account is in big trouble.
2FA (Two-factor Authentication)
2FA is one more step towards data protection. It means that, in addition to your password or passcode, you have to add one more layer of security. That can be either your fingerprint, facial or iris scan, and even vascular pattern recognition. This extra layer of security is highly efficient since it is not possible to mimic it. No one can forge their way into your account, so your credentials are safe from hacker attacks and phishing.
Security Software Enablement and Update
One of the most used forms of security is antivirus software. There are so many choices nowadays. However, beware of malicious versions. It is very important to do good research prior to purchasing this kind of software. Do not let the price affect your choice. Rather, pay close attention to software quality. The safety of your business is in question. If you do not know where to start, try here.
The software that keeps your private network safe is a firewall. Firewalls use different types of methods for data protection:
- Packet Filtering
- Application Gateway
- Circuit-Level Gateway
- Proxy Servers
- Stateful Inspection
- Dynamic Packet Filtering
For security reasons, your business data can be encrypted by the firewall.
Another very important step towards data protection is often neglected – updating. People tend to avoid or postpone updates. If you fail to update your system and software regularly, your data will be at risk. This is because installed programs might not work properly without an update.
Prevent your business data from being misused. Raise computer security awareness every day! Implement the steps discussed in this article as soon as possible. This way, you can rest assured that you have done everything in your power to protect your business data.