How to secure your company’s sensitive information

Securing your company’s sensitive information is becoming a more pressing issue every day. Hacks, data breaches and ignored security vulnerabilities cause a growing number of problems for businesses around the world. Statistics show that nearly 70% of small and medium businesses experience cyber attacks.

And that’s not even taking into account the security threats inside each company. Carelessly shared passwords, sensitive information stored in spreadsheets, and other care-free, plain-text strategies that lead to disasters. But is there something you can do, besides hiring security companies to protect you? There’s actually quite a lot you can do on your own, and it doesn’t have to involve spending thousands on fancy tools or security teams. 

1. Stop thinking “this won’t happen to me” or “I have nothing to hide”. The worst thing you can do is completely ignore the problem and think that it will go away on its own, or that malicious entities simply won’t target you. Hackers are not masochists – their job is to find the weakest link in the chain and exploit it. If you do your research and make sure that you don’t have any obvious holes in your security you are already on the right track. Cyber security is never a done deal though, but the good part is that all your efforts will pay off in the long-term. And neglect will cost you.

2. Store your sensitive information in a secure place. One of the biggest issues with data security today is that it’s simply not protected properly. Since there is no such thing as absolute security, there is always a chance that your network, your system or your database might be hacked. But it’s completely up to you how much of your sensitive and business-critical data is exposed. If the most critical elements for your business, say, passwords, are stored in a secure, encrypted platform – even IF you get hacked, that sensitive data will remain out of hacker’s reach. 

Even though there is no such thing as absolute security, the most secure place for your data would be an offline hard drive, stored in a safe, in a secure location. However, that might render it useless, as it would be difficult to access when needed. Luckily, both encryption and cloud technologies have been improving relentlessly over the last 10 years and now your data can be both super-secure and accessible anywhere you are. 

3. Make sure your team is on the same page. Reports show that 4 out of 5 data breaches happen due to human or process error. With certain precautions and preparations, your business can work to eradicate this threat. You don’t have to go big, but you have to start somewhere. The most important factor is to have all of your team on the same page. To setup stronger information security standards company-wide, you will need a combination of policies and initiatives.

  • Education. In order for your new policies and rules to stick, your team has to understand why it’s important and what might happen if they are ignored. This means sharing the trends, threats and ways to avoid them. Whether you are the one teaching them or you assign some time for research is flexible – but education is critical.
  • No more weak passwords. One of the main causes for data breaches is employees using weak passwords. Among the most popular passwords worldwide we have examples such as “123456”, “qwerty” and “password”. This needs to change – by now you probably know that adding capital letters, numbers and symbols significantly improve the security of your passwords. Luckily, there are also tools (including free ones) that generate and save these passwords, so you don’t have to struggle with remembering all of them.
  • Even bigger threat is practice of re-using passwords. You probably won’t find a single person who isn’t guilty of this, but it’s crucial to understand that if you use your Twitter password to secure your client’s business data, this poses a huge risk to your business as a whole.
  • Experts recommend all passwords to be updated every 90 days. While this may be an overkill in some cases, the truth is that most people never update their passwords. Even if your team manages to update their credentials twice a year – this is a huge improvement over using the same passwords for years.

These three points will definitely help your company secure the sensitive data. 

If you already have ideas on how to improve the security of your business – don’t wait, start implementing them today! And if you think a one-in-all tool might be a better solution for your case – feel free to try out PassCamp password manager for teams for free today.

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