In today’s business landscape, data security is more important than ever. With advances in technology, hackers have become more sophisticated, and data breaches have become more common. As a business owner, it’s important to take steps to protect your business from potential threats.
This article gives an overview of 9 security strategies that can help keep your business safe.
1. Create a strong password policy
All too often, businesses are breached because an employee used a weak password that was easy to guess. Create a strong password policy and enforce it among your employees. This is a simple, yet effective, way to protect your business. By implementing it, you can make it much harder for hackers to gain access to your systems.
A strong password policy will require employees to use passwords that are at least 8 characters long and include a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Employees should also be required to change their passwords every 90 days. A password that’s used once shouldn’t be repeated. Prohibit employees from sharing passwords with anyone or writing them down where they can be easily found.
2. Analyze data to prevent fraud
By analyzing historical data, businesses can develop rules or models that can automatically flag fraudulent behavior in near-real-time.
Transaction data, customer data, and behavior data can be analyzed to detect fraud.
To determine which data points are most predictive of fraud, businesses need to first understand the relationships between different types of data. For example, customer location may be predictive of fraud if customers from certain geographic regions are more likely to commit fraud. It will also be indicative of fraud if a customer performs a transaction over a certain limit.
Fraud analytics uses machine learning, statistics, and modeling to score data points and identify potential fraud. As you analyze data, you’ll understand which data points are predictive of fraud. You can read more here.
Once businesses have identified the most predictive data points, they can develop models that score data points based on their fraud risk. The higher the score, the more likely it is that the data point is associated with fraudulent behavior.
3. Access management
Identity-based access management (IAM) is a security strategy that can be used to protect data. IAM uses unique identifiers, such as passwords and usernames, to grant or deny access to resources. By using IAM, businesses can control who has access to their data and what they can do with it.
- Single-sign on (SSO): A type of IAM that allows users to access multiple applications with a single set of credentials. SSO works by creating a central repository of user credentials that can be used to authenticate users across multiple applications.
- Multi-factor authentication: An additional layer of security that can be added to your login process. With two-factor authentication, users are required to provide two pieces of information in order to log in – something they know (such as a password) and something they have (such as a smartphone).
This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to accounts because they would need both the password and the physical device in order to login. Two-factor authentication is an effective way to deter hackers and protect your business data.
- Role-based access control (RBAC): With RBAC, businesses can control what users can access by assigning them specific roles. For example, a business might give employees who work in the accounting department access to financial information, but restrict access to other departments.
4. Live by the CIA triad
The CIA triad is a model for developing security strategies that takes into account the three main factors of security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
- Confidentiality refers to the need to keep information secret. In order to protect information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals, businesses need to implement security measures such as encryption, access control lists, and firewalls.
- Integrity refers to the need to keep information accurate and free from tampering. In order to protect information from being modified or deleted, businesses need to implement security measures such as digital signatures and hashing.
- Availability refers to the need to keep information accessible. In order to protect information from being destroyed, businesses should implement security measures such as backups and disaster recovery plans.
By taking into account all three of these factors, your business can develop comprehensive security strategies that will help protect their data from potential threats.
5. Encrypt all sensitive data
Encryption transforms readable data into a format that’s unreadable. This unreadable format can only be deciphered using a key or password. It is perhaps the most effective way to protect your business’s sensitive data. According to IBM Security’s report, data breach cost goes down by around $360,000 due to encryption.
If a hacker were to gain access to your systems, they would not be able to make sense of the encrypted data without the key.
Data tokenization is used in lieu of encryption because it separates cardholder data from its inherent value, which makes the data useless to criminals. It works by substituting a sensitive data element with a non-sensitive equivalent, referred to as a “token,” that has no extrinsic or intrinsic value. This way, you can rest assured, your sensitive data will never be misused.
Understand the types of encryption and decide which type will be feasible for your company. The two main types are:
- Symmetric encryption: It uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt data.
- Asymmetric encryption: It uses a public and private key; the public key is used to encrypt data, while the private key is used to decrypt it.
6. Physical security
Businesses should also use physical security measures to protect their data. Physical security involves the use of physical devices, such as lockers and safes, to secure facilities and prevent unauthorized access.
Depending on the nature of the business, the following additional measures can be implemented:
- Background checks before hiring new employees.
- Issuing gate passes to visitors.
- Restrict access to particular areas inside the premises.
- Install CCTV cameras at all points of entry into the office/building/warehouse/store.
- Alarm systems linked to the police station.
- Security guards can make sure unauthorized personnel are not allowed inside the premises.
7. Educate employees on cybersecurity risks
Teach employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices. A security awareness program should include training on topics such as social engineering, password management, and email safety.
Make it part of the company culture to understand the importance of keeping passwords safe and not sharing sensitive information with anyone.
Employees should be trained on how to identify potential threats, how to properly handle sensitive information, and what to do in the event of a security breach. If you are in the startup space, read the checklist to ensure data privacy. Additionally, provide them with resources to stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity trends.
8. Data loss prevention
In the digital era, most businesses store a large amount of data. The data is mainly stored on the cloud, making it more susceptible to security threats. According to Hipaa Journal’s research, 70% of companies suffered a cloud data breach in 2019.
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a security strategy that works by identifying, monitoring, and preventing the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information.
A data loss prevention strategy helps you keep your data safe by identifying and classifying data, setting up controls to prevent unauthorized access, and monitoring for any suspicious activity.
9. Implement BYOD
Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are becoming increasingly common in the business world. This means that employees are allowed to use their own devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, for work purposes.
While BYOD can increase productivity and flexibility, it can also create security risks. Have a BYOD policy that everyone adheres to.
In the era of remote work, having BYOD is almost a must. Additionally, you can’t dictate your employees which devices to use because that can be considered as an infringement of their privacy. However, set some guidelines to make sure that all devices used for work purposes are secure.
These are just a few of the many security strategies that you can implement in order to protect your business from potential threats. You can help keep your business safe from harm by:
- Taking steps to secure your systems and encrypt sensitive data.
- Educating employees about security.
- Investing in data analytics to help identify potential threats.
- Having a plan in place to respond to security incidents.
- Working with trusted security partners.
- Deploying tools that keep your business safe from potential threats.
By taking a proactive approach and implementing security measures, any business can mitigate risks and protect itself from cybercriminals.
Osama Zahid is a technology content strategist who is passionate about content marketing and all things SEO. He has helped various companies rank their content on the first page of search engines. In his free time, Osama loves to play football and travel.