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Four threats to your data security and how to protect against them

We all want to improve our data security. Clients won’t do business with a firm that isn’t confidential, and colleagues don’t want to lose months of work to viruses. But what is the best way to keep your business protected?

We’ve chosen four of the biggest risks to data security, and suggested a few ways you can deal with them.

Keep tabs on your data

Many security breaches come from inside – this is sometimes done by malicious leakers, but often happens accidentally. To stop this, limit access to any privileged information to a few trusted users within your company. Then track use of this info, so that when a data breach does occur, you can tackle it more effectively. Make sure you delete any inactive accounts within your systems.

Educate users

Over a third of respondents to our home working survey said that they use the same phone for their work and personal use. So-called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is common in companies of all sizes. However, this shortcut has its risks, as employees can access malware from behind company firewalls – or simply lose their mobile phones. To minimise damage, draw up a company policy on the use of work devices. Better still, run classes to educate workers on strong passwords and avoiding hackers.

Everything

Keep tech up to date

If a device is old, it is more susceptible to attack. ‘Unpatchable’ devices are those that cannot be fixed with a software update – new hardware is needed. For example, Microsoft no longer supports Windows 2003, leaving thousands of customers more exposed. To combat this, update your hardware, use programmes that prompt users to renew security, and regularly back up all data. While this may seem expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Use trusted providers

Many companies outsource to support and maintain their systems – but be careful who you’re dealing with. Millions of credit card details were stolen from US shops Home Depot and Target when trusted vendors’ accounts were infiltrated by hackers. Make sure your provider is using multi-factor authentication, requiring unique credentials for each user, tracking remote access, and offering varied permissions services. When using virtual offices or video conferencing, use a trusted and encrypted service.

Improving data security isn’t always free, but investment is a necessary expense. Consider your data security in the same way you would the safety of your office – you wouldn’t give the key to anyone or use a key that could be easily copied, and you wouldn’t leave the door open when you leave. Lock up and limit access to keep your data safely out of harm’s (and hackers’) way.

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