What You Need to Know About Data Security

It is easy to fall into the mistaken idea that you already possess enough safeguards in place to protect your small business. You most likely stay current with the latest antivirus software, but is that enough? You also probably feel that since you’re not really a huge corporation, you don’t have to worry about cyber criminals hacking into your system. But here’s the unfortunate reality: cyber criminals have upped their game and are beginning to target small businesses increasingly more. Let’s take a closer look to  give you a better understanding of the level of danger your business may be under.

Small firms: low-hanging fruit

Unfortunately, small companies make easy targets, so hackers are starting to concentrate on them. Small firms are quick hacks and the criminals can make more hacks at a quicker rate. With more chances, their odds of stealing useful information goes up significantly. As a small company, you may not think you have any valuable information, but in today’s world even the simplest information can be used to do harm to someone else. Credit card purchases are the most common targets of cyber criminals. Each time your system runs a transaction, it must validate the cardholder’s information. This information can contain card numbers, addresses, names, and more. Your customers don’t want this information stolen!

How hackers gain access to your data

Even though you probably have systems in place to defend your information, hackers will make use of multiple points of entry, so firewalls alone might not be enough. Malicious email attachments are probably the biggest offenders. These attachments can leave your system wide open for data mining. This year alone in the first quarter, 6 million malware programs were found. Apart from these more high-tech tactics, cyber criminals also use low-tech means to steal information. Phone calls or even personal visits by someone posing as a network administrator or security firm can be harmful. We all hope our employees are smart enough not to fall for an apparent phishing scam, but it only takes one slip up to open yourself up for attack.

The buck stops with you

If you feel that maintaining data security is not important, take into account that should your systems be breached, your customers will in all probability hold you personally responsible for any stolen data or property. These kind of events cost companies thousands of dollars every year and can damage a company’s reputation so badly  that they have to close their doors forever.

An ounce of prevention…

Taking extra precautions when it comes to your business’ data security is a very wise move. Continue to update your programs and passwords on a regular basis. Teach your employees good security practices like setting up strong passwords and instructing them to never give out login information or open suspicious emails. Hiring an outside consultant is another great way to ensure your clients’ information. These measures not only give you peace of mind, they tell your clients that you care about keeping them safe.

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