According to a report from the Pomenon Institute, SMBs are the primary target of cybercriminals. In 2015, for instance, more than 43% of all breaches were directed at small and medium sized businesses. On average, 50% of SMBs encounter a cyber attack at least once every 12 months.
These figures should be enough reason to “arm up” and do whatever it takes to secure your business. The following are five precautionary measures you can take to prevent costly data breaches;
1. Back up early and regularly
The single most important step in protecting your data in the face of adversity is to back up as often as you can. If possible, back up every hour. If not, try to do it every day, or for large chunks of data, back up at least weekly. You can use the backup utility in Windows, or, if the data is critical to the success of your business, use third-party backup programs that offer more sophisticated solutions.
2. Password-protect the most important documents
No matter the security solutions you put in place, it’s still possible for your documents to end up in the wrong hands. To further secure your sensitive document(s) even in such situations, use a productivity application such as MS Office or Adobe Acrobat to set passwords on individual documents. This way, the stranger would need a password to open the document.
3. Use disc encryption
Since you may also accidentally lose the laptop or storage disk where the files are stored, it’s also a good idea to lock the disk using an encryption program. Whole disk encryptions work by automatically encrypting all data that is saved on the disk in question and automatically decrypting the data before loading to memory, such that the disk becomes inaccessible to outsiders but transparent to the owner. You can use third-party disk encryption on flash drives, USB drives, hard drives, and so on.
4. Use file-level and share-level security
To keep even your own employees and other fellows at the workplace out of your data, consider setting permissions on the data file and folders. The idea here is to ensure that each person has boundaries; that no one can access what they don’t need. Since this would only apply to people using other computers on the network, if you share the computer with others, you should also consider file-level permissions (also called NTFS permissions).
5. Secure data in transit with secure file transfer software
In the past, most organizations depended on Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) to secure files in transit. IPsec uses Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) to encrypt data for confidentiality and can operate under tunnel mode, in transport mode, for gateway-to-gateway protection, or even for end-to-end protection. But, IPsec is prone to cyber attacks. So, the new way to secure files in transit is using secure file transfer software from third parties. You’ll pay for the services, but your file transfers will be 100% secure.
With these five tips, your data and files should be safe both on your devices and when in transit.