Data breaches are a business owner’s worst nightmare. One breach can change a person’s view of your company forever. Just look at what happened with Target in November 2013 when millions of consumers’ information was compromised. Don’t let that happen to you. Here are some suggestions about how you can prevent a data breach at your company.
1. Make Sure Your Business is PCI Compliant
Every business should be PCI compliant. But some owners fail to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the PCI Security Standards Council for whatever reason. That negligence not only puts their consumers’ personal data at risk, but it can also risk their business’s reputation.
These PCI Standards were developed to make it less likely that there would be a data breach in the first place. Business owners can take the necessary steps to strengthen their cyber security to ensure that their customers’ personal information is processed properly and managed responsibly. Certain steps, such as building a secure online network, installing anti-virus software and testing your security systems regularly, are required in order to be considered PCI compliant. As long as you constantly stay informed and implement all new or revised policies, your business will be up to these important standards.
The best way to become PCI compliant is to find a premier credit card processing and merchant services company that is partnered with a reputable processing platform and funding bank. Such a company can consult with you to ensure that your customers’ data is secure when sales transactions take place.
2. Properly Train Your Employees
According to the National Security Institute, approximately three-quarters of data breaches are considered “inside jobs.” What it found is that in the majority of occurrences the company’s own employees were responsible—either intentionally or not—for these transgressions.
Your employees who have access to this sensitive information should go through extensive training about how to safeguard it. It can be extremely frustrating to find out that a data breach could have been avoided if you took the time to educate employees about data protection policies and the consequences of mishandling such data. Additionally, all your employees shouldn’t have access to everything, even encrypted data, because if it somehow gets into the wrong hands, you could have a serious problem on yours. You should limit that data access to only those employees who need to have this access and who are sufficiently trained in handling it.
3. Be Proactive
Not only should you take the time to update your company’s cyber-security response plan, but you should also regularly test it yourself. Make sure you and your staff are fully aware of your data breach protocols. Consider it a fire drill for your business. Everyone will know what is expected of them in case a real cyber-attack takes place because they’ve practiced the procedure.
Hiring data-security specialists is one way to do this effectively. A team of experts can determine if your employees are doing everything possible to prevent a data breach, and if the staff knows what steps should be taken if one occurs. If you’re not prepared, the data-protection professionals can give you useful advice on what you can do to get ready.
No matter what type of business you own, you must try to avoid a data breach at all costs. Fortunately, you can take cost-effective steps to decrease the chances of your business becoming a target. Never ignore crucial advice or take short-cuts because your customers and your business could be put at risk. Securing your company’s data is vital. Remember, it’s your future we’re talking about.