Recently the term "data compromise" has come to the forefront of many people’s minds—a recent compromise of financial information cost one company more than $12 million. As business owners, we should always be on both the offensive and defensive against hackers and data thieves. If we fail to take adequate action our companies will almost certainly suffer.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here are some simple tips that can help keep your business protected from any kind of breach.
1. Remove sensitive data. If you remove the sensitive information, there is nothing of value for the data thieves and hackers to steal. Removing the data removes the risk. Offload all the information you can to a trusted third party whose core competency is securing data and who can integrate into your systems without interrupting your business flow.
2. Stay compliant. If your company must retain sensitive information, ensure you are compliant with applicable industry security standards. They provide helpful guidelines to protecting information that hackers desire such as driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank routing information, and passwords.
3. Build the walls higher. Today’s hackers are sophisticated and experienced and they stop at nothing to get their hands on private information. Expect to go beyond industry security standards and employ additional levels of security. The more difficult you make it for data thieves to breach your security, the more likely they will look elsewhere for easier prey.
Of course, this is a small sample of what to do to prevent this ever-growing problem. Don’t imagine that just because you’re not one of the "big boys" you can fly under the radar. You cannot afford to be complacent; Regardless of your size, your company is at risk. In a recent report, "The Security Paradox," published by McAfee, cyber attacks increased by 322% against midsize organizations in the U.S. from 2008 to 2009. The same report also points out that companies with fewer than 500 employees suffer more attacks on average than larger organizations. These hackers want to steal your sensitive data—beat them to the punch.