5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Business from a Data Breach

As a small business, you may not believe that you are at risk of a security breach, because you can’t imagine who would want to target you. Small businesses often feel that investing in cybersecurity isn’t worth the expense. Yet small businesses are at risk for potential data breaches, and if a data breach occurs, small businesses may suffer more than larger ones. This is a risk small businesses can’t afford to take.

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1. Develop a Prevention and a Response Plan

The first step to protecting your small business from a data breach is to have a plan to prevent one. Research the best practices for data breach prevention and create an adaptable plan that you can communicate to your employees. If you need to deal with potential data breach issues, you can refer back to the plan and follow the protocol. In the event of a data breach, you’ll want to have the right steps in place so you can find out exactly what happened, have a plan of how to respond, and processes for changing passwords.

2. Educate Your Employees about Security Risks

No one wants to believe their employees will put their small business at risk, and usually a breach happens due to negligence, not intent. In a small business environment, you generally know and trust each person who is working for you. A data breach can happen because one employee clicked a link in an email they assumed to be legit. Your employees need to be informed of the potential cyber threats they may face and by trained to spot these threats and respond to them appropriately. Training your employees in cyber security best practices and reinforcing that training periodically is one of the most important things you can do to avoid a data breach. Your employees should be alert to phishing schemes, understand how to encrypt emails and files, and communicate safely. When your team is on the lookout for suspicious messages, they are much less likely to let one through. In addition to training your employees, it is important that you have a policy in place to remove the access and accounts of former employees as soon as they leave the team.

3. Create a Remote Work Policy

Chances are you have some employees working from home, and if so, it’s important to develop a remote work policy that maintains your current cyber security standards. Developing and enforcing a policy for remote work is important for all small business owners. One of the most effective tools to keep remote work secure is to make sure your employees are keeping their business and personal electronics separate. It can be very tempting to use one device for both personal and business needs, but it is much safer for both the employee and the company to avoid this.

4. Make Sure You Have Security Software and Encrypt Data

Security software is a good baseline to have in place for protecting your small business from a data breach, but this isn’t usually a “set it and forget it” task. As threats evolve, your security software will need to evolve to keep up. Make sure that you are always up to date, and periodically review your software to make sure it is protecting you from the attacks you are most likely vulnerable to. Firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, and detection software are all important, but you need to make sure you are using it to the best of your capabilities.

5. Invest in a Data Breach Reporting Solution

Having a privacy assessment for your small business is one of the smartest decisions any small business owner can make. It is a proactive way to identify potential weak points so you can address them before a data breach occurs. A privacy assessment will help your organization adjust and improve their protocols. A breach reporting solution, which can be handled by the same organization, will assist your small business in responding to any data breaches that may occur, which can help protect your business reputation.

AccuShred has partnered with CSR Privacy Solutions to provide a smart, proactive choice for your organization. Once you have identified the potential gaps in your cybersecurity measures through the self assessment tool, you can further develop your organization’s protocols to increase your data security.

Let us help. Contact AccuShred to learn more about how we can guide your organization through an assessment of your current safety measures. The risk of cyber attacks will continue to grow since cybercriminals are smart and will always find new ways to target your business. Keeping your cyber security best practices and data protection a priority is the best thing your small business can do to keep your company’s information safe.