When it comes to business news, it seems like a week can’t go by without a major brand reporting that their customers’ most sensitive information has been exposed as the result of a hacker compromising their computer networks. However, small business owners should not delude themselves into thinking that severely damaging breaches are a problem that only affects large corporations. To protect their companies from significant fines, public backlash and even insolvency, the leaders of small firms need to understand the importance of data security.

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You need a quality software solution

The cornerstone of data security is maintaining and regularly updating a high-quality anti-intrusion software. Although burgeoning enterprises operate with limited budgets, the fact that 60 percent of small businesses fold six months after a cyberattack means that owners cannot afford to skimp on data security. An ideal data security solution should include a program that protects your systems from malicious programs and unauthorized off-site intrusion. It should also be able to scan mobile devices for viruses and worms before allowing them access to your data network. It’s also crucial that your data security solution offers 24/7 support so that they can alert you immediately in the event of a hack.


Educate your staff on data security

One thing leaders in the small business community need to understand about data security is that it doesn’t just refer to making sure you’re using a high-end antiviral software. One 2015 study found that 52 percent of business data breaches in the United States are caused by human error. The majority of these errors were due to a failure on the part of a company’s employees to observe cybersecurity policies. Unintentionally, workers across the country put their businesses at risk by not changing passwords frequently, falling victim to phishing scams and exposing their organization’s computer network to malware by visiting unsecured websites. As such, you must make it a priority to regularly update and reinforce your team’s data security training.

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Make your data network as resilient as possible

Another important aspect of data security is making your internal network as resilient as possible. In the aftermath of a devastating data breach, you may find that information that is critical to the operation of your business has been corrupted, deleted or rendered otherwise inaccessible. To limit the damage inflicted by an unauthorized intrusion, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that you back up your most critical data on a weekly basis. Doing so will ensure that you will be able to maintain continuity of service to your customers, and honor your obligations to your vendors during a crisis.



This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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