In the business world, your data is your most valuable asset.
Whether it’s your own internal data or your customers’ data, you need to do everything you can to protect it. After all, a data breach can destroy a company if security or contingency measures are not in place.
So let’s discuss some of the best ways you can secure your company’s financial data.
Create a data hierarchy
If you want to keep your financial data safe, you should start by sorting your data
and who has access to it. From the moment you purchase or create a fresh dataset, you should have an idea of how important it is. Or, to put it simply, not every bit of data has the same value. By knowing where the most important information is, you’ll know how to secure it in the best way possible. But that’s easier said than done, so take your time.
Another thing to consider is data access. Not everyone in your company needs free access to everything. By limiting your employees to only the data sets they need for their jobs, you reduce the risk of a data breach by a significant margin. As you probably already know – most hacks and data breaches happen through human error.
Prioritizing and sorting your data and limiting access to it will already make your company more secure. But knowing what’s important will also help you create valuable backups, which brings us to our next point.
Plan your backups
Having a solid backup of your critical financial data can save your company, just as not having it can destroy it. If you sort your data sets, you can easily decide what needs to be in your next backup.
But data backups are not spontaneous events. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Even today, with all the cybersecurity knowledge available, companies fail to realize the value of a well-done backup.
Create a data backup schedule. Identify information that is repetitive and can be archived often. You can even make a special, separate backup for your most valuable financial information. All in all, taking data backups seriously is a layer of cyber defense in itself. And it helps you get a better overview of what’s going on, from a data point of view.
Password hygiene is crucial
As mentioned above, most cybersecurity incidents occur due to human error. And that’s something that isn’t going away anytime soon. One of the main mistakes employees make is using weak and repetitive passwords. If used in important financial accounts, weak passwords are a serious threat to business security, which is why you need to start raising awareness about password hygiene.
Here are some of the main things to know:
- Never reuse an old password, no matter how complex or long.
- Do not use real words while creating a password to avoid dictionary attacks.
- Always use special characters, upper and lower case letters and numbers in your passphrases.
- Never, ever share your credentials with anyone. Not even if your boss asks. Sharing passwords via email is a risky game.
You can make it easier for your employees by using a password manager, which is a tool that can generate and store all business passwords.
Use the power of encryption
Finally, we need to talk about encryption as a means of protecting your financial data. In essence, encryption “locks down” your data, messages, or even your entire network, making it unreadable by anyone without the key.
Here’s how to implement encryption to protect your data:
- Switch sensitive communication to end-to-end encryption.
- Encrypt the network on which you send, receive and modify data. The most popular way is to use a VPN.
- Encrypt the backup database. Once you determine which data sets are most important, you can improve your backup by encrypting it.
Encryption in general has just started to creep into every technology that deals with data transfers. And there’s no valid reason not to exploit it for cybersecurity.
The sooner you act, the better
Nowadays, even smaller companies have to deal with large amounts of data practically every day. Knowing what to throw away, what to archive and what to keep and back up is a business philosophy in itself. But you have to start somewhere.
So assess your assets, plan your backups, make sure everyone is protecting their credentials, and see how you can implement encryption to help secure your financial data.
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