Protecting your data should be one of your top priorities as a business owner. In addition to being a legal necessity since GDPR was introduced in 2018, it is crucial to protecting and maintaining the success of your company.
It is estimated that a data breach could cost a small business as much as $50,000. This figure includes potential fines, disruption of staff workflows and the additional steps needed to restore your system afterwards.
What Data Needs to be Protected?
Certain important pieces of information that are stored by businesses need to be protected in order to prevent third parties from misusing the data. Identify theft, phishing scams and fraud are some of the crimes that can be committed if your business data is not secured.
Data that you hold on staff members, shareholders, business partners, clients, customers and members of the public that needs to be protected includes, but is not limited to, their:
- Full name
- Current or previous address
- Email address
- Current or previous telephone number
- Bank account and credit card details
- Health information
What Does the Law Say?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into action on May 25, 2018. It means that Europe is now covered by the world’s toughest data protection rules. It states that organisations must strive to keep information they hold on people accurate, safe, secure and lawful. The principles of GDPR state that business data is:
- Not used for any other purpose than stated by the organisation
- Only stored while it is needed
- Only used in relevant ways
- Held in a safe and secure way
- Kept in the European Economic Area
- Stored according to data protection laws
What Happens If You Fail to Comply?
Failure to comply with the GDPR regulations can lead to severe consequences for you and your business. You could be fined up to $650,000 and even given a prison sentence if you do not protect your business data.
How to Protect Your Business Data
There are a number of measures that you can take to protect your business data.
It starts with educating your staff on the basic principles of IT security, such as: the proper management of passwords, how to identify phishing scams, data encryption methods and the correct handing of customer information.
It is important to ensure that all emails within your business are encrypted, to prevent vital business or client information being accessed by unintended recipients.
It is also vital to update operating systems, applications and browsers as soon as new versions are released, as each update is likely to contain the latest security measures. It is good practice to allow each system to update automatically.
In addition to implementing these preventative measures, it is also possible to use more sophisticated, dedicated products to help protect your business data, such as Checkpoint Data Loss Prevention.
Data protection is a constant battle, meaning you need to stay up to date with new developments in cyber security to ensure your business is always safeguarded against the latest threats.