8 Data Security Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses

Almost 50% of …r attacks are aimed at small businesses. However, less than 15% are prepared to protect themselves. The same source tells us that the average breach costs small businesses around $200,000, and most of them can’t come back from that.

Luckily, from backing up data to training your staff, there are things you can do to avoid common data security mistakes.

Keep reading to learn 8 data security mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Not Managing Employee Access

How many users or employees do you have at your business with rights to the security network? Do a lot of people on your team have admin privileges?

Humans pose a huge security risk. You shouldn’t grant admin privileges to anyone who doesn’t need them to perform the duties of their job. The more people have access to critical data, the more you run the risk of exposure.

Here are some privilege management practices that could help you improve your cybersecurity:

  • Assign user rights and privileges based on user roles
  • Restrict the number of employees with access to admin controls (only those who need it)
  • Enact an additional approval process for “high-risk” tasks like deletion
  • At the end of a job, withdraw access rights from 3rd-party users
  • Provide regular training programs for employees, so they understand safe cybersecurity protocol

2. Not Training Employees

Employee negligence causes over 40% of security breaches. If you don’t train your employees on security awareness and how to keep sensitive data safe, it becomes increasingly easy for hackers to find a way in.

Have you trained your staff with regard to phishing emails? Phishing emails are one of the most common cyber threats. Are they aware that hackers use emails and phone calls to pose as someone else and that all they need is one small piece of information to gain further access?

Sometimes a hacker gains access by sending an email, posing as a CEO or a boss. They’ll create an email almost identical to that of that executive, and the employee falls for it and responds by either clicking a link or revealing sensitive information.

Do your employees leave their computers unlocked when they take a lunch break? It’s crucial to train your employees on all aspects of cybersecurity if you want to keep your business safe.

3. Bad Password Management

Weak user account passwords provide easy access for hackers. Make sure that you don’t give out passwords to any employees who don’t need them to perform their job duties.

Also, make sure employees are password-aware across all facets of technology and the job. Here are some things you can put into practice to improve cybersecurity and protect your business and personal data:

  • Enable 2-factor authentication and create strong passwords to safeguard your data
  • Use complex passwords, incorporating special and numerical characters
  • Avoid using the same passwords across multiple accounts
  • Periodically change passwords for all accounts and have employees do the same
  • Use apps that can securely store and regenerate passwords rather than writing them down on a pad or post-it

4. Leaving It to IT

Your digital security team must branch out beyond IT.

Cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue, it’s a company issue. Cybersecurity demands accountability from everyone. Of course, IT can help devise and execute your security systems and processes, but for cybersecurity to prove effective, every employee and department must be on board.

These are some things you can do to ensure cybersecurity isn’t limited to the IT department:

  • Training all employees on risks associated with cyberattacks
  • Plan and implement risk management processes and procedures
  • Train employees on safe email practices and other behaviors vital to the success of cybersecurity

5. Not Updating Software

You should never ignore notifications for regular software updates.

The longer you take to update your security information, the longer you give potential hackers to get a foot in the door.

Computer software must be updated, including programs and databases. Updates are created to avoid internet threats and other vulnerabilities in the software systems.

If there’s an update to be made, stop what you’re doing and update immediately. The Net Depot team can help you build a strategy to ensure Ransomware doesn’t affect your updates and backups, too.

6. Not Having Cybersecurity Protocols

Every company, large or small, should have written, formal cybersecurity policies, processes, and standards.

Employees should read, understand, and become familiar with these practices. Many larger organizations have their employees read and sign.

It’s important to use your policies and refer back to them regularly. Keep them up to date, clear, and concise, and easily accessible.

7. Using Public Wifi

Whether you’re in the airport or at the coffee shop, public wifi hotspots are often not secure. Hackers can easily use man-in-the-middle attacks to steal credit card information or sensitive company data.

If you’re handling anything business-related like making a transaction or using login credentials on public wifi, use a VPN (a virtual private network) to ensure your data remains secure.

A VPN keeps your activities safe, and it’s much more difficult for hackers to intercept them.

8. Not Moving Beyond Compliance

Compliance doesn’t necessarily equal security. More often than not, companies focus on achieving compliance, and once they receive their certifications, they become complacent.

While your business could be fully compliant on paper, that doesn’t mean you’re protected against cyber attacks. Go above and beyond for the security of your company to ensure there’s little to no chance of a breach.

Avoid Common Data Security Mistakes and Keep Your Business Safe

Too many small businesses leave themselves vulnerable and open to cyberattacks simply by making common data security mistakes.

Most of these mistakes are easily avoided and can be eradicated with a few simple procedures in place. It’s amazing what training your employees and performing regular updates can do.

Take the time to protect the future of your business by increasing the cybersecurity of your company.

For more tips and tricks on keeping your business safe, visit our technology and internet blogs daily!

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