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5 Serious Threats to SMB Data Security and How to Avoid Them

Feb 05 2015

how_to_avoid_serious_threats_to_a_security_breach.jpgThe amount of large data breaches at enterprise businesses in the news has been overwhelming in the past year. It is becoming clear that data security is a major issue for organizations and their IT departments and providers. While the high-profile cases involve huge companies, small and medium-sized businesses face the same issues, only on a smaller scale. Here are some of the top ways in which you may be compromising your data and how your firm can minimize your risk.

  1. Employees Make Mistakes
    Employees that do not understand how to handle sensitive information can be very dangerous. Employees that email information without encrypting it, or those that cannot identify dangerous sites and applications online may introduce malicious software and expose your data to hackers. Your IT staff or provider should educate all employees about potentially harmful activities. Also, with the rise of BYOD, make sure your company has policies in place to guard against issues with staff members who prefer to use their own devices.
  2. Your Firewall and Security Software are Out of Date
    Allowing spyware and malware detectors or firewalls to expire is very common, especially in small business settings where there may not be someone monitoring these technologies constantly. Ensuring that your solutions are updated and testing to confirm they are working well is the simplest way to help protect your data.
  3. You Give Too Many Employees Access to Sensitive Data
    Accidental exposure of company records, such as in the first example above, is highly common. Not everyone in your company needs access to sensitive information, such as employee SSNs and customer payment details. Pinpoint the staff members that need access to certain types of data – allow access to such information on their computers and your servers by giving only those employees permissions to the folders that contain these documents. You can also add an extra level of security by password protecting the documents themselves.
  4. You Don’t Know What Sensitive Data you Have and Where It Is Located
    It is tough to protect your data when you don’t know what you have and where it is stored. Make sure that you understand what servers, workstations, and laptops contain or have access to such information. Then you can organize it all in a system that gives only relevant individuals permission to view and alter that data.
  5. Spiteful Employees or Outside Criminals are Trying to Obtain Your Data
    Disgruntled or former employees can wreak havoc on your business if they have access to your data. Likewise, hackers and other criminals can gain entry into your systems and tamper with or steal information. Make sure that you perform background and reference checks on all new employees, especially those who will have access to sensitive data. Also, following the above suggestions will mitigate the risk of your information getting into the wrong hands.

If you are unsure of how your protections would hold up in a breach, contact us to discuss options for making your company’s vital information as secure as possible.

James Oberhaus

Written by James Oberhaus