With any business, there are many security challenges that continually arise in a variety of forms. Sometimes, it’s your company secrets—in other instances it’s your customer data. Keeping your company secrets and customer data is essential to running a successful business. The following are the three most common security challenges faced by businesses today.
- Protecting Customer Data
Beyond facing the consequences of leaked private customer information and costly fines, a business also risks damaging their own reputation and being exposed to lawsuits. To some businesses, encrypting sensitive customer data might sound like an obvious given. Unfortunately it’s not; many businesses fail to recognize the importance of encryption.
In addition to encryption, companies should consider a data loss prevention platform for the purpose of rules-based data monitoring and tracking. With this technology, an administrator can automate and enforce policies governing the use and movement of customer data.
- Protecting Intellectual Property
Many small business owners believe their intellectual property (IP) won’t be stolen. As a small business, you’re trying to compete within your market. Your business exists because you’re good at solving problems and meeting customers’ needs. If another company figures out how you do this and replicates what you do, chances are, you’re going to be out of business very quickly.
You can protect you intellectual property using patents, trademarks, and copyrights. In addition, you must ensure that all your employee and contractor agreements include adequate confidentiality, intellectual property, and non-competition clauses. In terms of IP protection and employees, ensure your employees understand what needs to be protected so they can better understand how to protect it.
In addition, ensure you lock up, physically and digitally, your sensitive data. Whether it’s in a server or in paper files. There are a growing number of software tools available for tracking documents of IP nature. Ask your IT provider for assistance with this.
- Avoiding BYOD Risks
When an employee brings their own devices to the workplace, there’s a potential to introduce a virus onto the company’s network. An extensive BYOD policy is the best way to minimize the risk security breaches and intrusions.
Your IT team should set access or restrictions to data and files that are locally hosted via your company’s shared file servers, and they should monitor employee IT activities as well. Restricting user access to central repositories and networks is another key way to minimize risks associated with BYOD.
Consider using whole-disk encryption instead of individual file-level encryption for employees who work with customer data on their mobile devices. Utilize tools that sync all user data to a central account, and ensure an administrator controls this access. They can place intermediary technologies between employee devices and your company network to add an extra layer of protection. It will also better protect against lost laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Implement a policy that requires employees to notify your company in the event of a lost or stolen device so you can take steps to prevent data loss. And you must always plan for employee departures. Remote wiping capability is a key tool for managing BYOD risks.
Remember, placing your company’s secrets and data in the wrong hands and without proper safeguards, can mean the demise of your business, no matter how large or small.