Total Business Magazine

How SMEs Can Protect Their Online Business from Data Theft?

For many small businesses, data is among the most important assets. Whether it’s a legal firm, a pharmacy or a hairdresser, the ability to access information at a moment’s notice is critical, and the loss of that ability can effectively cripple a business.

It’s also critical that data is kept out of the hands of outside parties who aren’t authorised to access it. With the rollout of GDPR, EU citizens are more empowered than ever before to take action against businesses who fail to take data security seriously. So how should a business go about doing it?

Encryption

The modern interconnected economy depends on the safe exchange of data. Businesses and their clients need to be able to send information to one another, while ensuring that third parties aren’t able to intercept and exploit that data. The solution here is encrypting the data – effectively scrambling it so that only authorised parties are able to read it.

Encryption technology has progressed enormously over the last decade or so. You might have noticed the ‘s’ being added to the ‘http’ at the top of websites – this indicates a layer of encryption. If you’re to keep the data stored onsite secure, you’ll need to ensure that it’s also encrypted. The same applies to data being transmitted – however it’s being sent. Offside storage facilities will inevitably offer encrypted storage as standard. You’ll just need to check how encrypted it really is.

Firewalls

A firewall is a program which restricts access to certain systems. In business, they’re critical for ensuring that criminals aren’t able to steal your data from outside.

Secure Payment

If you’re accepting online payment for your services, then you’ll need to offer your customers the peace of mind that comes with securing the payment. That might mean accepting debit and credit cards, but you might also take advantage of services like PayPal.

Put the right Procedures in Place

There’s no point in installing the latest secure technologies if your staff lack the education to take advantage of them. The habit of composing easily-guessable passwords is an obvious one, but procedures surrounding the use of USB sticks and other storage devices can also help to minimise the possibility of a breach. Another danger comes in the form of smartphones, which, since they’re going to be used for all manner of other purposes, are easily exploited, lost, or stolen. If the data being used is especially sensitive, then banning it from being viewed on a smartphone altogether might well be sensible.

Don’t neglect physical security

At the same time, there should be procedures in place to prevent outside parties from simply wandering onto your premises and using (or removing) computer assets. This might mean putting into place a robust system of user access control.

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