Businesses often hear about data privacy and security, yet it's not until they encounter problems firsthand that the adage "hindsight is 20/20" truly resonates. A study conducted by Corvus Insurance in 2022, revealed a startling fact: 43% of all cyberattacks are now directed at small businesses. This statistic serves as a glaring reminder of the urgent necessity for robust data protection strategies to mitigate the escalating vulnerability posed by cyber threats.
Understanding Data Privacy and Data Security
Data privacy involves safeguarding sensitive information belonging to individuals or organizations, while data security focuses on protecting a company's data from unauthorized access or misuse. Measures such as encryption, firewalls, monitoring systems, logging mechanisms, and other safeguards are essential to ensure data privacy. If you can secure your data, the risk of a privacy breach is severely mitigated.
These two pillars operate jointly, reinforcing each other's efforts to ensure the safety, integrity, and confidentiality of data. This blog post focuses specifically on data security.
Data Security Measures
Luckily, data security companies are advancing defenses against a multitude of cyber threats. Business owners can take these proactive measures to ensure data security.
Upgrade outdated and unsecure operation systems
The reality is that nothing is designed to be enduring, particularly in the realm of technology. Technology adapts and evolves over time. Keeping your operating systems up to date will help you increase your data security, and stay efficient.
Ensure third-party software and custom software are secure.
If you are utilizing a third-party vendor to process information, it’s essential to vet these vendors thoroughly, ensure they comply with data security regulations, and have adequate security measures in place.
In the transportation industry, fleet management systems produce substantial real-time data regarding drivers' current whereabouts, valuable cargo pickup spots, and various insights that could potentially be exploited by rivals and unlawful entities. If you are using a transportation management system, make sure there are integrated supplementary security tools installed.
For companies that own and operate heavy machinery, the use of telematics is becoming more prevalent. Telematics can help monitor and manage equipment data and operations, but this data must also be protected and secured.
Continuous employee training on data security best practices, including phishing awareness and sensitive information handling, is crucial for businesses’ data security.
Awareness programs can help employees recognize warning signs, emphasize the importance of verifying requests, and establish protocols for handling financial transactions.
Utilize encryption and multi-factor verification
Adding extra security by requiring multiple forms of verification can help significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
Protecting sensitive data such as customer information, financial records, and proprietary business data by employing robust encryption techniques should be considered. This ensures that even if the data is intercepted, unauthorized access is prevented. The Federal Trade Commission provides a good resource with their Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business.
Data Breach Response Plan
While you hope to never need one, you should have a clearly outlined response and communication strategy to address potential data breaches. This involves an orderly procedure detailing the steps to identify, contain, mitigate, recover from, and communicate a breach, thereby reducing its impact swiftly and efficiently.
Data security and protection need to be taken seriously, but they don’t have to be overwhelming. The Federal Trade Commission provides additional guidelines and tips for small businesses to protect their systems and their data. Additionally, you can always reach out to your technology partners to discuss your specific business situation.
Disclaimer: Commercial Credit Group and our team members are not experts on data privacy and security. The information provided herein is designed to raise awareness of such issues so your business can be as informed as possible.