As a small business owner, should you be concerned about the protection of your data?
What could happen if you aren’t?
As a business owner operating in the digital age, these are vital questions to ask yourself. Data breaches can be especially harmful to small businesses, with cyber threats resulting in severe losses that can cripple an operation for years or even cause it to close its doors for good.
If you’re a small business owner, it might be time to assess your cyber security.
What Is Data?
Let’s start with the basics. In computing terms, data refers to any information belonging to an entity, like an individual person, organisation, or business. Importantly, data is any information that you can digitally store and recollect at a later date.
Data can be educational in nature, academic, medical, or personal, such as medical records and work and residential information. It can also be financial, such as financial records, banking details, and purchase histories of individuals and businesses.
It therefore follows that data security can be defined as the processes and measures put in place by an individual or business to protect data in their possession.
The Importance Of Data Protection In Cyber Security
In order to protect the data that your small business deals with, it’s imperative that you understand the dynamics of data protection. To help you understand the relevance of cyber security in your business, we’ve answered the top seven questions asked by small business owners who are on a quest to combat cyber security.
- How Important Is the Protection of Data in Cyber Security?
According to a shocking Credit Angel publication, data is sold per record entry, making data exceptionally valuable. Worse, a recent study by Hiscox revealed that a cyber attack takes place on a UK company every 19 seconds, or around 65,000 every day!
4,500 of these are successful attacks, and a third of those lost customers, so that is 1,500 companies a day that are losing customers – do you want to be one of them?
Cybercriminals steal data for a variety of reasons. For instance, some sell this data on the dark web, some use it to commit fraud and identity theft, and some use it for ransom purposes – often threatening to release this information for other criminals to easily access it.
Here is an idea of the prices for stolen financial data:
- Online banking details: £200 per record
- Grocery shopping account user data: £3 per record
- Apple ID profiles: £10 per record
- Full user profiles for social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest: £17
- A complete online data profile for an individual: £750
Depending on the nature of your business, you might be in possession of enough customer information to be quite valuable to cybercriminals. Take a moment to consider how a data breach could impact your business.
- What Does Data Security Entail?
Data security is the process of safeguarding all types of digital information and the devices they are stored on. It is intended to protect data from theft, corruption or any unauthorised access.
Speaking more practically, data security covers software, hardware, password control, email security, and user devices, as well as securing the different types of data stored on any devices and servers.
- Why Has The Risk Increased?
The answer is quite simple. Data is continuously being produced, with statistics showing that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. Every year, the volume of data across the world doubles in size.
As the volume of data grows, so does the number of cybercriminals who stand to profit from it. The reality is that data is now a huge commodity, especially on the dark web where it can be sold for a tidy profit. And worryingly, data is easier to steal than ever before.
- Why Is It Important That A Company Protect Their Data?
Business owners have a responsibility to their customers and staff to safeguard their data and stop it from falling into the wrong hands. Using data security, you can prevent business systems from being breached, theft, and fraudulent activity from taking place, like false invoicing.
Without security, the financial and reputational damage caused by breaches can be staggering – to the point where your business may not survive. Especially if your customers find out you didn’t have adequate protection.
- Why Should Businesses Be Fined?
The long and the short of it is that companies who have been found responsible for mismanaging data to the point of resulting in breaches, can and should be fined. This will force business owners to take responsibility for deploying adequate data protection.
- How Long Does It Take for Data Breaches To Be Detected?
On average, it takes an organisation around 287 days to detect a security breach. Does that sound too long? Then you won’t enjoy finding out that it takes smaller businesses much, much longer. This is mostly because small businesses don’t always have adequate protocols in place to realise that their systems are being compromised.
- How Do I Protect My Business?
Fortunately, small business owners can use these five pillars to keep their businesses 99.99% safe against cyber threats.
Pillar 1. Use next-gen anti-virus: Small business owners should invest in next-generation anti-virus systems instead of relying on free or cheaper options.
Pillar 2. Enforce multi-factor authentication: Insist on multiple authentications when logging into any sites or applications. Usernames and passwords are the first two, but additional authentication will further minimise the risk. We highly recommend using a Password Manager so you can discard the easily cracked eight-to-five character passwords in favour of securely generated 20-character passwords that are virtually impossible to crack.
Pillar 3. Always Use Email Security: A top-notch Email Security solution will stop 99% of threats before they even reach your inbox. Email Security will also prevent suspicious links in emails from being accessed because the user won’t be able to log into the fraudulent URL.
Pillar 4. Back everything up: Ensure that your business data is backed up regularly. By storing your data in a secure location, it is accessible in the event of hardware loss or system breach and your business won’t suffer too much downtime while the issue is being resolved.
Pillar 5. Training: Ensure that all employees are trained on data security so that they know what to look for and what processes to follow if they suspect a breach. Trained employees will be able to perform secure transactions and not unintentionally put your system at risk.
Final Thoughts On Data Security
Data security is crucial. As a small business owner, you should ensure that your business is protected from the various forms of cyber threats out there. Doing so will ensure that your customers’ data is guarded against potential theft, ransom or malicious use.
Additionally, having the right security protocols in place will also protect your internal business data, which includes your invoicing, dispatch, and ordering processes. Creating a safe data environment will give your customers more confidence in doing business with you.
Security Everywhere specialises in keeping small businesses protected from all types of cyber threats. To ensure that your small business remains secure, request an individual risk assessment.
Keeping your small business protected is as simple as booking a free discovery session with us today!