In the modern age of data, an information leak can sound the death knell for a business. Customer trust will evaporate quickly if you cannot ensure that their data is protected, and this will leave them unwilling to shop with you. Almost all businesses now store data online, and as a result extra means must be taken to protect it.
Use a VPN
The only way to reinforce your online security system is to use a VPN. While front-end software and applications may already be protected, back-end systems normally aren’t. Using a VPN means that everything has the same level of protection, with data filtered and restricted as necessary. This means that information can’t be passed around limitlessly on the back-end of the system. If anyone was to hack in to a company device, they would find their efforts thwarted by the use of a VPN, even if on a public Wi-Fi system. Make sure all of your employees know the procedure to use a VPN on their mobile devices and anything that can connect to the business network.
Have a strong password policy
Make sure that all of your employees know how to create a strong password. These days it’s not recommended to change a password too frequently as this may encourage the use of weaker and therefore easier to remember passwords. Instead, emphasise the importance of a strong password and ask that your employees only change it if a leak happens, if they have been in a public place, or if they have been away from work for a while. A strong password is a random string which does not form a recognisable word or pattern. It should contain both lowercase and uppercase numbers, as well as numbers and punctuation. Even the spacebar counts as punctuation, which can be a good way to come up with a unique password! An example could be: rJ2uh1!X
Monitor network access and activity
Have your IT team monitor the activity on your network, including file transfers and who is logging in from where. This will help you to highlight problematic behaviour. That could include co-workers sharing passwords, employees transferring files to their personal computer, and non-work personnel being allowed to share devices with employees. Let’s imagine one employee who doesn’t know the rules. He goes home and allows his son to play on his work laptop, then emails a file from that laptop to himself so that he can open it on his desktop computer at home in the meantime. He gets a call from a colleague, and gives out his password so that colleague can access a system in his absence. All of these behaviours could cause a leak. If your IT team spots this kind of activity, the employee may need to be retrained – or even denied access to the system if necessary.
Though you might not understand it yourself, having encryption set up for customer data is hugely important. It means that hackers won’t be able to use the data even if they lay hands on it without the encryption key. Even for a small business, protecting customer data is hugely important – so you are never too small to encrypt. If you don’t, the data simply won’t be safe.
Make sure that you find the best VPN for your system with a service like VPN Compass which will assess all of the different options for you. This will give you the best chance of defence against any hack or leak which may come your way.