Data Theft: How it Can Affect Your Small Business

Data Theft Credit Cards and Padlock
December 20, 2016
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~by Ashley Andrews~

What do you think a small business owner might be able to do in order to ensure that their business will be safe from a security breach? It might actually be easier than you think. Securing your system from data theft can also be much easier and cheaper than the financial, emotional, and physical cost of repairing it.

Security Breaches

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, security breaches can result from one of these causes:

  • Disclosure that is unintended. Someone who is either affiliated with or in your business might inadvertently post sensitive or private customer or company information on a website or in a fax, email, or letter.
  • Malware or hacking. Individuals who are unauthorized can gain access to your servers and or computers and corrupt or steal data with the use of malware.
  • Payment card fraud. Information may be stolen from one of your point of sale payment or credit card terminals.
  • Corrupt employees. Someone in your employ might intentionally leak or steal information of a sensitive nature.
  • Paper documents that are discarded, lost, or stolen.
  • Mobile devices, including CDs, flash drives, smart phones, laptops, etc., that have been discarded, lost, or stolen. This can be prevented with flash drives, particularly if you have a secure USB flash drive.
  • Stolen servers and/or computers.

Fighting Data Theft

Did you know that the FBI has reported an increase of above 250% since 2015 when it comes to data theft? It is said that business owners also have a loss of more than $7,000 beyond that which their insurance will cover when there is a breach in data security. 

Fighting against data theft is something that is imperative for all small business owners, regardless of the industry. Awareness of identity theft is something that became a trend in the corporate world some time ago. Experts in information security believe that the time has now come for businesses to ensure that their employees have ample training in regards to standards for digital security. 

Methods to be Proactive in Regards to Data Security

Making sure that your business is protected from a security breach is more than just practicing safe tech. You also need to be hiring the right people as well as having a good policy for security in place and always using common sense. You can protect confidential or sensitive data by following these steps.

Identify the sensitive information in your possession, where it resides, and what it is used for. In other words, you should make an inventory regarding any sensitive information in your possession and take note of where it is stored.

Segregate or isolate data that is sensitive. Keep information of a sensitive nature on as few servers and or computers as possible. Also, ensure that it is kept separate from other types of data and other networks if this is at all possible. 

Encrypt data of a sensitive nature. This is especially important for data that is mobile. Take flash drives for example. They are easy to take with you wherever you might go. However, they are so small that they can easily be lost or stolen. However, this won’t matter if the data is encrypted on the device. It is even better when the encryption is added to by some sort of physical security, like that of the Secure USB, which has a physical keypad right on the flash drive where you will need to enter a personalized PIN in order to access any information on the drive.

When transmitting or receiving sensitive financial data or credit card information, make sure that you are using SSL or a similar secure connection. Using connections that are secure and encrypted, like SSL, will protect sensitive information while it is being sent across the Internet..

There are so many other things that you can be doing to make sure that your data is staying safe that there isn’t the time or space to list them all here. Be vigilant. Remain aware of what is going on in your company and with all of the financial or sensitive information that people have trusted you with. This is not only for the good of your company, but also for the good of everyone who deals with the business.


Meet the Author: Ashley Andrews

Ashley Andrews is an entrepreneur and blogger. She now lives in San Diego, CA and is happily self-employed. She enjoys writing about anything that catches her interest, especially business and entrepreneurship.

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