data security

Data Security – How to Protect Your Startup’s Data from Being Stolen

We are living in a Digital Age where founding and running a business is easier than ever, but this time still comes with its own challenges. In recent years, even the biggest players on the market were faced with data theft and various other types of cyber-attacks. The facts and figures demands data security on priority bases. 

This is the list of some of the most famous and disastrous cyber-attacks in recent years:

  • Ashley Madison– adultery website lost data of 37 million users, which lead to many blackmailing attempts and broken marriages
  • Home Depot– disastrous attack on this company’s servers stole information from more than 56 million payment cards
  • Target– in 2013 attack on Target servers, hackers stole from 40 up to 110 million credit card credentials
  • Anthem, Premera Blue Cross, and CareFirst– medical data has always been interesting to cyber criminals, in this attack, in particular, they stole more than 91 million medical files from these three healthcare payer organizations.

So, what can we do to protect our company’s data from hackers?

Don’t keep unnecessary customers’ data

When there’s no data, there’s no data theft danger. Companies often keep their customers’ personal and credit card data, even when they don’t need it. In addition to this, many companies violate their own privacy policy by saving consumers’ data and selling it to marketing companies. Registering and purchasing should be followed by simple forms and should require the least possible amounts of personal information. This simple concept is the best protection for company’s servers and at the same time, it increases the number of prospects and customers.

Train your employees

Most data breaches in the corporate world happen because of employee negligence. This trend is on the constant rise, mostly because companies allow employees to work from home, or they apply BYOD concept. Eric Basu, CEO of Sentek Global cyber security company advises entrepreneurs to spend faction of their security budget for training employees and presenting them with basic security standards and policies. This training should include: finding trusted Wi-Fi networks, watching over their devices all the time and utilizing secure password practices. These pieces of training and strict security policies will drastically decrease the possibility of cyber-attacks.

Safe cloud environment

Cloud environment is quickly replacing company hosted servers and hard drives, and one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in terms of data security is finding a safe cloud environment and provider. Greg Sullivan, CEO of Global Velocity and cyber security expert, advice entrepreneurs to protect their data from inside-out. This includes various advanced security technologies, including, document fingerprinting, keyword comparisons and pattern matching. Companies should also single out the most sensitive data and monitor it 24/7 for any sign of malicious activity. Encryption is also very important, especially when it comes to cloud servers. We witnessed huge hype that followed Apple vs FBI case, which proves how strong encryption can be, and with this in mind, we should always prefer cloud providers that offer encrypted cloud storage, for the most sensitive consumer data.

SSL and PCI compliance

E-commerce startups are one of the most vulnerable types of businesses, and even the smallest online stores are being targeted by cyber-criminals who want to steal their customers’ credit card data. That’s why it is very important for them to be PCI compliant and to use SSL protocols on their checkout pages, which create encrypted connection between their websites and bank servers.

Outsourcing and regular security audits

Small companies that don’t have enough funds to employ expert security teams, should outsource this segment and hire professionals who will audit their entire IT infrastructure, including,  computers, servers, and mobile devices. These audits should be done on a regular basis and should include all devices employees use for login on company’s networks.

The fact that hackers are able to bypass the complex security of some of the biggest corporate players is a proof that there are no safe servers, especially in the world of small companies that don’t have enough money to invest in cyber security. That’s why entrepreneurs need to appoint more time to protect their data and design their own innovative solutions for this purpose.

Nate Vickery

Consultant at Bizzmark
Nate Vickery is a marketing manager by profession turned business consultant with the passion of enhancing management process with latest technology trends.
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