For business owners, a cyber breach can feel as devastating as a natural disaster. And while it is the large data breaches experienced by major corporations that make the news, small to medium-sized companies are the most at risk. In fact, one study shows that more than half of small and medium-sized businesses endured a data breach in 2017. With that statistic in mind, it is more important than ever to take the necessary steps to protect your business data.
Encryption might sound like a term best suited for a spy movie, but it is a major weapon used to combat hacking attempts. As Digital Guardian explains, encryption is the process of encoding data in a manner that only authorized users can gain access. There are several ways to encrypt sensitive data and servers, documents, your machine, and emails can all be encrypted.
For example, if your laptop gets stolen, the thief would not be able to view information on it without an authorized encryption key.
A firewall presents a barrier between a network that can be trusted and one that cannot. Merchant One says that firewalls should be installed on all workplace computers to help protect businesses from being hacked. Firewalls sometimes come in the form of software built into programs and operating systems. Hardware like routers can also act as firewalls.
If your business uses more than one computer, it is a good idea to use a router to provide protection for the entire network. You should also protect each computer with a firewall so that if one computer is compromised the damage can be contained.
Most people view internet filtering as a way to block social media and other sites that decrease the productivity of workers. While this is one way that internet filtering can be used, it can also be used to flag sites that may pose a threat to the computers on your network.
A risky site can sometimes be a site that is reputable but has been compromised itself. On more than one occasion, a situation such as this resulted in hundreds or thousands of customers downloading a virus or malware from a trusted website. ETTE says that a good internet filter will check the sites that you, your partners, and employees visit in real time so that you will be alerted to the existence of harmful or suspicious content, even on a trusted site.
Small and medium-sized businesses can easily experience devastation at the hands of a data breach. The good news is there are a number of ways to provide protection for the data that is central to your business operations.