Protecting Personal Information in Business: How to Do It Effectively

Every business, big or small, collects and stores personal data – from employee records to customer information. If these files end up in the wrong hands, people connected to your company will be affected.

Security breaches can damage a business, but protecting personal information isn’t too hard with a solid plan. Learning about the essential safety measures, recognizing signs your phone is hacked, and knowing where to report a security issue can help you maintain a strong layer of protection. Let’s begin!

Cover the basics

Protecting the information is impossible without going through the basics. It is best to start with your passwords. It might sound simple, but login information is the best protection against cybercriminals. Your passwords should be eight or more characters long and have numbers, symbols, and uppercase letters. Changing your passwords regularly is recommended.

Encourage your employees to do the same. Complicated and lengthy login information could sound overwhelming, but password managers can help with that problem. Employees shouldn’t write down their passwords and keep them on the keyboard. Fortunately, a password manager can relieve the anxiety of forgetting the login information.

Protecting your office Wi-Fi network is yet another easy thing you can do because cybercriminals sometimes use this technology to break into a system. Hopefully, you have already changed the default admin login information on the router. Then, use encryption and turn off the visibility of the network if you can.

Safeguard personal devices

Employees who use their own devices for work is not an uncommon thing. After all, remote work is the future, and many businesses have embraced it during and after the pandemic. However, personal laptops and other devices that contain sensitive work data could be at a higher risk of experiencing a security breach.

Can you elevate the cybersecurity of employees working remotely? Absolutely! Investing in antivirus software, VPNs, and other apps designed for online safety is a good start. Consider organizing cybersecurity workshops for your employees where they can learn about security dangers. The workshops should cover various themes such as common online crimes, signs your phone is hacked, how to recognize phishing, and more.

Finally, devise a plan of action if one of your remote workers experiences a security breach. Your company should know how to deal with this issue and what to do when facing legal action because these can happen.

Have a clear plan

Knowing what to do during a security breach is the key to reducing the impact it could have on your business and everyone connected to it. Your cybersecurity measures could be spotless, but cybercrime can still happen to the best of us.

Start by creating a response plan and have one staff member in charge. When you get a report of a potential security breach, act quickly by identifying the main vulnerability. Then, search for other potential weaknesses in your network. Identify which data was exposed and then move on to inform the authorities, depending on your location. Your legal team should be involved every step of the way. Remember to notify those affected by the breach, too.

Delete the data you don’t need

Businesses sometimes keep the data they don’t need anymore, which can increase the damage of a security breach. Therefore, deleting unnecessary information from storage devices and computers is a great idea. It will prevent the data from being exploited or popping up on the dark web. But remember that you need to do this properly.

For instance, paper documents need to be shredded or burned before disposal. We can’t do the same with computers, but formatting a disk won’t be enough for data disposal. Instead, use special software to clean the disks and prevent data retrieval. Ensure that your remote employees do the same when disposing of old hardware.

Learn how to protect the data

Having a team of cyber security experts is not so rare nowadays, but getting your whole business on the same page should be a priority. Your employees must be familiar with your computer network and know how to spot a security breach.

First, know where the sensitive data is stored. Keeping it on a computer that doesn’t have access to the internet is recommended. Employees should run daily antivirus software checks to ensure everything works properly. Encryption can also be handy when sending or receiving sensitive information via email or messages, so consider using software such as business VPNs.

Your employees should know not to download unauthorized apps on devices connected to the network. The list includes tablets, computers, and smartphones. Handheld devices can provide cybercriminals with opportunities to break into your network, and knowing the signs your phone is hacked can be beneficial.

Consider using cloud storage

Small businesses could store sensitive and confidential data on cloud storage because this service offers exceptional security measures that ensure the information is safe. Cloud storage is especially useful for small businesses that don't have full-time cybersecurity experts on staff or enough time to monitor the network.

Of course, do some research before you select your cloud storage provider. Most of them release security patches regularly and maintain the highest level of protection. Not to forget that your employees will have access to the files at all times, regardless of their location, and be able to collaborate in real-time.

Automatic software updates

Not using outdated software is one of the best ways to protect your business from cybersecurity dangers. Hackers often search for vulnerabilities to create a security breach, and old software versions can provide that opening for them. Luckily, you can prevent this by enabling automatic software updates.

Software developers usually release weekly or monthly patches and updates. These should be installed immediately. Unfortunately, some of us click cancel and forget about it. However, setting up automatic software updates can solve this problem. Once you enable this option, patches and updates will be downloaded in the background.