Several high-profile data breaches have made people wonder how safe their information is in the past several years. Whether it’s someone hacking into your email account or a company losing control of its customer data, the aftermath can be devastating. As a result, it’s essential to take every precaution possible to protect yourself and your personal information.
Allowing a data breach can be detrimental for both businesses and consumers. Consumers can lose access to bank accounts, see their money stolen, or even fall victim to fraud or identity theft. On the other hand, businesses who fail to protect consumer data may find themselves legally liable for damages. Even if that doesn’t happen, the damage to reputation caused by a data breach can be fatal to a company’s reputation. After all, no one wants to spend money at an establishment if it means taking the risk of having their sensitive information exposed by cybercriminals.
Fortunately, however, data breaches don’t have to be an inevitable consequence of doing business in the digital age. If you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and any business contacts safe, you can rest easy knowing that hackers will have a difficult time accessing your data. Here are seven ways you can protect yourself and your company from data breaches.
Install Patches and Updates Promptly
When a new patch update notification pops up on your computer or smartphone, make sure you install it as soon as possible to keep your data protected. These patches are instrumental in fixing security vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit to access sensitive data.
Readers concerned about the amount of time their devices will be offline during the patching process can research live patching as a solution. This fix is especially useful for business owners who want to protect client data but equally can’t afford long periods of network downtime to install patches and updates from software providers. By using a live-patching solution, you can have your cybersecurity cake and eat it too.
Use Strong Passwords
One of the easiest and most important ways to protect yourself from harmful breaches is to update all online passwords to improve security. Strong passwords utilize random numbers, letters, and character combos to make it difficult for hackers to crack. Steer clear of passwords with personal information, like birthdays or pet names to keep your info safe and sound.
If you run a business with employee passwords safeguarding data, train your employees on the best practices surrounding passwords. For example, you might coach employees never to write passwords down, to use strong passwords, and to change passwords frequently.
Enable Two Factor Authentication
In addition to strong passwords, you can further protect your accounts by enabling two-factor authentication. With this security measure in place, you’ll enter your password as usual, in addition to a unique code sent to a separate device generated by a security application.
Two-factor authentification creates additional walls for hackers to break through. So, even if your password becomes compromised, you can sleep soundly knowing your sensitive info is double-protected. When you use this security feature, all of your online portals know that it’s really you logging in–if they can’t confirm it’s you with a unique code sent to a separate contact route, they won’t allow access. Where passwords fail, two-factor authentication to serve to keep you safe.
Be Wary of Unsecured wi-fi Networks
Though free WiFi connections may be tempting, tapping into unsecured signals can create a weak spot in your security, risking your data. Unfortunately, hackers often set up fake networks to collect people’s personal information right under their noses.
To maintain maximum security while connecting to WiFi while out and about, make sure you turn off file sharing, only visit secure sites, and equip any devices with a VPN. Free wifi isn’t worth the cost of all of your personal information.
If you’re concerned about strangers accessing your device or data, consider encrypting your info to throw off cyber-attackers, ensuring your information is unattainable without a unique key. Encryption technology is an excellent way to protect your devices, especially if you’re prone to misplacing your smartphone or tablet.
When data is encrypted properly, it ensures that even if hackers gain access to your servers, they won’t be able to read or use any of the data they see because they lack the proper keys to decrypt it. Encryption can stand as a solid last line of defense against prying eyes.
Keep Your Anti-virus Software Up-to-date
Another way hackers can gain access to your personal information is by infecting your computer with malware. When you click on or download a malicious link, your device becomes infected with harmful viruses that can wreak havoc on your system and breach sensitive data.
Fortunately, anti-virus software can help protect your computer by identifying and terminating malware. However, if you don’t download patches, your antivirus software may become vulnerable itself. Whenever manufacturers of software discover flaws or vulnerabilities in their product, they release patches and updates to fix these problems before hackers take advantage. When you don’t download the necessary fixes, you essentially leave your digital door unlocked to any criminals who wish to come inside.
Establish Security Policies
If you’re a business owner, it’s essential to establish network security policies to safeguard your customers’ data. For example, requiring your employees to upgrade to strong passwords and encrypt customer data will strengthen your cybersecurity. If you deal with third-party vendors, you must do your due diligence to ensure that they’re keeping up with the latest security upgrades and best practices.
Unfortunately, cyberattacks are skyrocketing as online data becomes increasingly valuable. However, you can take steps to protect yourself and your personal devices. By using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date, you can ward off inventive hackers.
As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect the data of clients, vendors, and employees. That means doing everything in your power to prevent breaches and forming a robust disaster management plan for when they do happen. By incorporating encryption and employee cybersecurity training into your enterprise, you can take part in blocking cybercrime before it occurs.