Are You Protecting Your Clients' Data?
Almost every business will hold customers’ data, and keeping it protected is of the utmost importance, your business depends on it! With cybercrime showing no signs of slowing down, protecting your data whilst ensuring your business is GDPR compliant is more important than ever. But, with the right steps in place, data protection and keeping your business secure needn’t be daunting.
Why is protecting your clients’ data important?
Cyberattacks are on the rise, but UK gov statistics show that successful attacks are at a steady rate of 39% of UK businesses, the same as in 2021. This is thought to be due to the successful implementation and monitoring of online security within businesses IT infrastructure.
Of those 39% of UK businesses that identified an attack, 83% were phishing attempts and 21% (around 1 in 5) identified a more sophisticated attack such as a denial of service, malware or ransomware attack. Furthermore, 31% of businesses report an attack at least once a week and 20% say they experienced a negative outcome as a direct result of the attack.
Not taking steps to protect your business and its data could leave your business and clients’ data vulnerable to cyber-attacks, hacks and non-GDPR compliance. The National Cyber Security Centre states that whilst the GDPR does not state a specific set of cyber security measures, it does recommend that appropriate action must be taken to manage risk.
What measures should you take?
Download a GOOD anti-virus. First and foremost, ensure you have a good anti-virus downloaded on all your devices, this will be your best first defence against unwanted viruses and malware. We recommend Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security; it’s connected to an early warning system that gathers and analyses millions of pieces of threat data every day and works with both PCs and Macs.
Use multi-factor authentication. A lot of software will use a password and a code sent to your phone or created using an authentication app. This multi-factor approach is a great way to prevent hackers getting into your accounts. Last year, Microsoft reported that 99.9% of account compromises could have been blocked by multi-factor authentication. That’s huge! Find out more about the importance of multi-factor authentication here.
Risk-assess and review. Conduct regular risk assessments and continually review security procedures, at least quarterly with management updates. This will ensure you’re alert for new security risks. Being prepared and understanding your organisation’s risks and implementing appropriate mitigations will ensure you’re prepared should you be the target of an attack.
Staff training. Educate your staff on social engineering attack vectors, such as phishing, spear phishing, vishing and smishing. Test them on their response to social engineering attacks and test protocols within your business. Make sure that your team know how to, and have the confidence to, report anything they deem suspicious. A simple e-mail or attachment opened by mistake but reported early can significantly reduce the extent of a security incident and help prevent a data breach. Arm your team against all defences!
Turn on auto-updates. Ensure your software and apps are kept up to date. An easy way to do this is to set them to auto-update, ensuring you have the latest security patches and software versions.
Ensure your business is GDPR compliant. If your business is the target of an attack, you want to ensure your clients’ data is as well protected as it can possibly be.
Should you demonstrate to your clients the measures you have taken?
Whilst it’s not necessary to show what measures you’ve put in place to protect your business and thus your clients’ data, sometimes there are benefits in demonstrating that you have put the necessary measures in place, even if simply for their peace of mind. This is especially true if you’re a business that holds sensitive data, such as an accountancy firm or healthcare provider. The public want to know that their data is being held responsibly. Examples of this could be to share your GDPR policy or having a footer on your e-mail stating that every effort has been made to ensure all communications from your business have been virus checked. Having a place for your security policies on your website is also a good idea.
If you’re too busy, there is help out there!
We know only too well how daunting this all can be, especially if you’re a SME and don’t have an IT team dedicated to the running and security of your network. Luckily there are plenty of IT service providers, such as Computer Care, out there that can ensure your business and your client’s data is safe and secure. We know that businesses need technology to work, all of the time. If you want to chat about your business needs, get in touch.