Today is National Data Protection Day (also known as Data Privacy Day), an international day of awareness that aims to promote data privacy best practices. Cybercrime is on the rise, with cyber threats growing ever more sophisticated, so it’s imperative you know how to protect your business, your data, and your customers’ data. A data breach can cost you money, time, and clients, as well as loss of reputation, lawsuits, and fines – but a good data protection strategy will protect you against the risks and ensure that if an attack does happen, you’re prepared for it.
We’ve compiled a list of five essential tips for business data protection to help you ensure you’ve covered the basics. This list is a good starting point, but it’s worth consulting a specialist to ensure you’ve got a robust plan in place. If you’d like to chat to us about how we can help you, just get in touch.
Educate and train all employees regularly
Making sure your entire team is trained on your data protection processes and regulations is essential. It’s not enough just to deliver the information once: you should evaluate employees’ knowledge of your data protection practices regularly, and update training whenever rules or regulations change.
For organisations with a low exposure of risk of cybercrime, we offer the PDSC Digitally Aware certificate, which is designed to help you take the first step in reducing your vulnerability to an attack or breach. We also offer more advanced support for businesses with a higher cyber threat risk.
Only collect essential data
When it comes to collecting your customers’ data, think carefully about what you really need. If your website has an email newsletter sign up, you’ll probably want to collect a visitor’s name and email address – but you won’t need their phone number or postal address. The more data you collect and hold, the more valuable that data is for a hacker, and the more of your customers’ data you’re putting at risk. Limiting the data you collect is also a good way to build trust with your customers, and helps to reassure them that you’re careful with their data. Any sensitive data should always be held in a secure location in accordance with any laws governing its retention or use, and access should be restricted to users with the correct clearance and training.
Good password management is essential
This one is a stalwart on any list of IT security tips (see our Cybersecurity Tips for Businesses), because it really is important. Ensure your staff are trained on good password management practices, such as:
– Change passwords regularly
– Avoid using common or easily guessed passwords
– Always use two-factor authentication
– Never share passwords with co-workers
– Never write down your passwords
Protect against malware
You should have a comprehensive strategy to protect against malware, ensuring your network is protected by a firewall, your devices are covered by antivirus software, and your emails are scanned with anti-spam software to prevent phishing attacks. Staff training is important here too, so that users know how to spot suspicious emails, links, and websites.
Make sure your network is secure
If you use a wireless network, use encryption to protect against attack. If your team will be accessing your office network remotely, consider using a VPN to ensure a secure connection.
Dispose of data properly
Be mindful of where data is stored: if you keep business or customer data on devices, make sure they are properly wiped before disposing of them, recycling or passing them on to another employee. It’s not enough just to delete data from a hard drive or laptop – you should make sure the data is fully erased, as often deleted files can be easily recovered if the devices get into the wrong hands.
If you’d like advice on protecting your business and customer data or help with setting up any of the processes we’ve listed above, get in touch. We’ll help you asses your business needs and risk level and put together a plan that will protect you against a data breach.