What You Need to Know About Data Security

It is easy to fall into the mistaken idea that you already possess enough safeguards in position to protect your small business. You probably stay current with the latest antivirus software, but is that sufficient? You also probably think that since you’re not 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 starting 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 focus on them. Small firms are quick hacks and the criminals can make more hacks at a faster rate. With increased chances, their odds of stealing useful information goes up substantially. As a small business, you may not think you have any important information, but in today’s world even the most basic information may 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 verify the cardholder’s information. This information can contain card numbers, addresses, names, and more. Your clients don’t want this information stolen!

How hackers gain access to your data

How can they get this sensitive data? Though you may be protected by software meant to firewall your systems, hackers still have several points of entry. Email attachments are a serious offender, and openingjust one piece of malware can leave you exposed. In fact, in the first quarter of this year alone, industry experts have detected over six million different malware programs. Attackers don’t have to be sophisticated to be harmful: when trying to breach your data security, some hackers have a low-tech procedure instead. They might contact your employees directly, and posing as a network administrator, request their password to improve security. This is called “phishing.” While you may believe your workers know better than to be seduced by such an obvious tact, it takes merely one lapse in judgment to leave your systems open to attack.

The buck stops with you

Many people believe that since credit card companies are usually responsible for any counterfeit charges that occur from a hacking event, that data security isn’t crucial. While this may be true for a consumer, for a business owner the result may be very different. Consumers will hold you responsible personally should their information be stolen. Damage control after an attack can cost an organization thousands of dollars and in some cases a single attack can spell the end of business in general.

An ounce of prevention…

Data security is very important and any additional precautions you can take would be sensible. Use strong passwords and update your existing security systems regularly. Educate your staff on safety measures they can take, such as creating strong passwords and never giving out login information. Hiring an outside consultant to help you ensure you and your client’s information is safe is another good idea. Simple measures can give you peace of mind that your systems are safe, and your clients will know you have their best interests at heart.