An important part of managing your business is protecting it - in lots of different ways. One of those is protecting sensitive data, and there are many ways to keep your data secure. Below are just some of the top security tips for protecting your data.
Use strong passwords
Simple passwords may be more memorable, but they’re also easier to hack. Make sure that you’re using complex passwords that are over 12 characters and that contain a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Two-factor authentication - which includes using a password and another form of authentication (such as facial recognition or an email confirmation) - can make your data even more secure.
Change passwords regularly
It’s important to regularly change passwords. Why? Just in case one of your passwords has already leaked. Data breaches of large organisations happen from time to time and passwords can end up being leaked onto the dark web where they can be accessed by cybercriminals. Changing your password regularly reduces the chance of a leaked password being usable.
Keep software up-to-date
Software updates help to fix bugs and also provide security patches against the latest cyberthreats. This is why it’s important to regularly restart your computer in order to allow updates to take place. It’s also important that you stop using software that is about to lose support from its vendors. After 10 years or so, many vendors are likely to stop providing updates for software, which can result in them degrading and becoming vulnerable to new cyberthreats.
Use a VPN
If you’re using a public network or a private network that you don’t think is very secure, it’s a good idea to use a VPN. This can allow you to use the network anonymously so that hackers cannot attempt to steal your data. Many security software programs come with VPN features included.
Dispose of your old tech suitably
Is there valuable information saved onto your devices? If so, it’s important that your tech doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Some businesses make the mistake of throwing their old computers in a bin with general waste, but this can eventually be found by criminals who rummage through landfills and skips for old tech. It’s better to use a trusted e waste disposal company that will wipe/destroy your hardware so that your data cannot be accessed.
Watch out who you give sensitive information to
Many data breaches occur from people willingly sharing passwords and log-in details with untrustworthy people. Phishing is a tactic commonly used by fraudsters in which a criminal pretends to be someone you trust (such as your bank, the police, the government or an insurance company) in order to get you to reveal sensitive information. Always second-guess emails or phone calls where someone is trying to ask for passwords - check their contact details and consider the tone of their writing/speech. On top of phishing, you also need to be careful of sharing certain information with new employees or visitors. Things like sensitive financial information or admin passwords for your website should only be shared with close staff members who you know and trust.
Download from trusted sources
Finally, you need to be careful of where you download files and software from. Be careful with attachments in emails and websites that don’t look official. Many browsers, security software programs and email servers now warn you if a website or email is likely to contain malicious content - pay attention to these warnings.