For businesses everywhere, data security and potential cybercrime are a major concern. Recent news stories have shown that the level of threat has increased significantly over the last few years and the trend only looks set to continue.
Enhancing your data security measures and creating an action plan to deal with any potential threat should be one of your main priorities. After all, the risk to your business otherwise is far too great.
Take Sony as an example. Last year’s attack and subsequent data breach carried heavy consequences for them, both as a business and as a brand.
As well as suffering a damaged reputation, Sony is now being sued by several of their employees whose confidential information was leaked, and the company saw a dramatic drop in its stock prices as a result of the incursion.
The Consequences of a Data Breach
A data breach can have serious consequences for your business. As Sony found out, you are at risk of legal action from employees or customers who trusted you to keep their data safe.
You can risk being fined for breach of the Data Protection Act too. The Information Commissioner’s office has the power to fine you if you are found guilty of actions such as not encrypting sensitive information, losing paper records, getting customer records confused or failing to dispose of records correctly.
The fines are not loose change either—some can run as high as £500,000. Loss of data security has other consequences for your business, too:
- You may lose valuable work hours as you and your team struggle to discover the cause of the problem and find ways to deal with it.
- Your team will suffer a serious blow to their morale.
- A data leak can seriously damage your reputation, causing you to lose customers and have difficulty gaining new ones.
- Your customers trust you with their information—if something happens you’ll be seen as untrustworthy, and the blow to your reputation can be hard to recover from.
Clearly, keeping your data as secure as possible is vital, so just how can you go about doing that?
How to Stay Vigilant When it Comes to Your Data
One of the most important things you can do for your business when it comes to looking after your data is to stay vigilant.
That means carrying out a thorough review of all the data that is handled by your business, how it is handled, and who has access to it. It also means educating yourself on both the Data Protection Act and on cybercrime; learning what kind of data gets targeted, and why.
Armed with this information, you can start looking at the steps you can take to keep your data secure:
- Encrypt all sensitive data;
- Grant access on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis;
- Use only secure FTP servers and connections;
- Monitor all devices and networks for unusual activity;
- Keep software up to date;
- Employ two step authentication or similar measures;
- Back up important data regularly—but don’t keep hold of any data you don’t need;
- Educate all employees on the importance of data security and what they can do—make it a team effort; and
- Have a plan of action in case of a breach and make sure all key personnel know what to do.
Keeping your data safe takes planning and vigilance but the consequences of not doing so are unfathomable. Make data security a priority today—you can’t afford not to. Subscribe to this blog for additional tips and webinar announcements.
This post was contributed by Georgina Park on behalf of Maytech, a company with expertise in multi-platform secure file sharing to help businesses across the world send and receive files simply and effectively with secure data transfer.