Small and medium-sized businesses often interact with confidential client information during their daily operations. You might fill your customer relationship management (CRM) software with details about a business customer’s professional needs, or you might collect a consumer’s payment information to process an order. However, this data represents an enormous liability, especially if it is lost or access by unauthorized parties. You can manage data risks by performing these regular security checks and updates.
System and Software Updates
OS updates and software patches can be a strong line of defense against new digital threats and uncovered vulnerabilities. For example, the “goto fail” SSL bug in Apple mobile and computer operating systems presented an enormous security risk for users, and the fix was released in recent system updates. It is critical for your IT department to update in-house and loaner machines on a regular basis, and encourage employees to update their own devices, if they are used for work purposes.
Strong passwords should be enforced on your office technology and on all work-related mobile devices. A strong password includes a combination of numbers, letters, and punctuation. Your technology should require a sign-in after just a short period of inactivity – no one should be able to freely access a computer or device after it’s been left unattended for a long period of time. Lock down mobile technology as well, to prevent unauthorized data access if your phones or tablets are lost or stolen. Schedule password changes every few months so that employees don’t use the same password for too long.
The sending and receiving of confidential client data should occur only on secure company networks. Unsecured public Wi-Fi opens your technology up to phishing attacks by hackers, who can grab data as it is being transmitted. Collaborate with IT professionals to bolster your network security and set up a VPN so that remote workers can continue to work in safety.
Data leaks and attacks can lead to costly financial, legal, and PR repercussions for companies. It’s critical for your business to invest in security practices to minimize risk. System updates, strong passwords, and secure networks are excellent preventative measures.