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Protect Your Business and Your Customers from a Data Breach

Technology

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Data breaches are a threat to every business. They erode customer confidence and expose sensitive information that leaves businesses vulnerable. In addition to credit card and banking information, hackers can also go after intellectual property and business-to-business data.

The Cost of Data Breaches

Recovering from a data breach can be a public relations nightmare and cost-prohibitive. According to the 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study, businesses that suffer a breach spend an average of $154 per lost or stolen record.

So far this year, the Identity Theft Resource Center has detected 551 data breaches, which exposed more than 150 million records. Those breaches affected all kinds of organizations, from financial institutions to medical facilities. However, out of those there were 218 businesses, making them the predominate target of these types of breaches.

In addition to the financial costs, companies are also forced to deal with loss of trust and a damaged reputation. To remain viable, businesses must reassure customers that their data will be taken care of and protected. In a competitive world, customers who don’t feel valued and safe will take their business elsewhere.

How to Protect Your Business

Given the frequency of data breaches and the high cost of stolen data, all businesses need to protect themselves and their customers. Even though no data security plan is 100 percent foolproof, businesses that make security a priority and remain diligent about their safety plan have a reduced chance of falling victim to a cyber-attack.

Here are some essential steps every business should take to lower their risk of experiencing a data breach.

  • Implement a data security plan. Hackers go after the most vulnerable targets first. Protect and manage your data with a detailed security plan that identifies sensitive data, designates how it will be stored as well as who can access it, and outlines who is responsible for regular security practices, like data backups. Train all employees, schedule quarterly reviews of the plan, and make adjustments as needed.

 

  • Try to break your system. Regularly test your security protocols to verify their effectiveness. When you discover vulnerabilities, take immediate action to restore the integrity of your defense strategies.

 

 

  • Don’t forget about mobile devices. Include company smartphones and tablets in your digital security plan. Install firewalls and malware detection on all devices and keep them up-to-date. If employees have company devices for personal use, consider implementing virtualization technology that separates business and personal data.

 

  • Use encryption. Encryption is important for stored data as well as point of sale transactions. Credit card and bank information is most vulnerable during a transaction. Make sure you add encryption to all incoming and outgoing sales.
  •  Create a security culture. Write explicit computer and Internet usage policies. Only allow employees access to the data they need to do their job, and restrict downloading files and apps on all company devices, including phones and tablets. Thoroughly train employees to understand the nature of cyber-attacks and how security protocols protect them, the business, and the customers.
  • Reinforce your backup. Physical backup has been the norm for decades, but Cloud technology offers an up-and-coming alternative. Add Cloud storage to your physical backup. Use a Cloud service provider with robust security protocols and a solid track record for keeping data safe.

Proper data security requires both a financial investment, as well as time, but the costs of protecting data are far less than the price businesses pay if they experience a breach. Make it easy for customers to put their faith in your business by doing everything you can to keep sensitive data out of the hands of hackers.

 

Frontier Business

Frontier Communications offers voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states and with approximately 18,600 employees based entirely in the United States.