A data breach can create huge damage to small businesses. They cost not just in terms of money but also the trust of the customers. It is thus important to keep the small business data and applications secure from such damage.
Data breaches across giant corporations such as Marriott International and Capital One have received significant attention in the recent past. These companies have been badly affected by such incidents. The same can happen in the case of small businesses. The attacks can be severe, and it can be difficult for businesses to recover from such situations.
Cybercrime has become more and more popular after the onset of the pandemic as more and more businesses have gone online. These businesses had to digitalize their processes and move to a completely remote work model. Most of them do not have the adequate technology or the infrastructure to develop a strong security system. As a matter of fact, it is observed that small businesses do not prioritize making the customer’s data and information secure on the platform. This can cause a lot of issues when a small business is attacked by cybercriminals.
So here are some simple steps to keep your customer data safe:
- Understand your Environment: Have an overview of all the hardware as well as software infrastructure in your business. You also need to consider which versions of the software applications you are using. In order to ensure safety, you have to first have an insight into what you own. You have to know all your assets and infrastructures. This will help you to identify your vulnerability and all the areas in which you can improve.
- Keep your Environment Safe: The next thing you need to do is to bring all your hardware and software systems to the highest level of security. The industry experts say that when a small business buys hardware or software, they do not always have the best and the latest security systems to keep them safe. Hence, it is important that the business checks each and every piece of equipment and its overall infrastructure ensure the security of data.
- Monitor and control your environment: The next thing you need to do is to control your environment. All the employees must not be given total access to all the data and information present over the business network. Employees must never be allowed to download anything they need, and from anywhere they need. It is important to implement access control over the overall data and information technology infrastructure.
- Evaluate and access vendor’s cyber security posture: Apart from your own business, it is also wise to have a look at the vendor’s web applications. Businesses that use security measures as per the industry standards are said to be more secure and reliable.
- Manage and Monitor your Environment: Keep a watch on the overall IT infrastructure of your business. In order to detect any signs of a cyber-attack, it is not necessary for you to have to be an expert. Your feeling is enough to do the job. If you think that things are not working as they should be, make sure that your systems are secure.
Mitigating the Damages from the Breach
Even small businesses must have a plan to mitigate issues and damages that are caused by cyber-attacks. The plan needs to be developed well ahead of the actual damage that is caused to the business. One part of the plan can be to know whom to call in the case of an emergency. This will help you to save time in wondering who to call when you need help.
Most businesses today are buying data breach insurances to keep their businesses running. The coverages in the insurance come in two parts.
- Response Coverage: It covers the response expenses, such as sending notifications to the customers when the breach occurs. I also include setting up credit monitoring for the affected customers and hiring a public relations organization to help repair the reputational damage. This also includes hiring legal and forensic experts to assess how the breach occurred, where it came from and what damage it has caused to the business.
- Expense Coverage: These can be expenses that a small business can face. It can be any lawsuits that are brought against them by the customers whose information was stolen. It can cover all the settlements or the judgements that the small business owner will be obliged to pay when the data breach occurs.
Restoring the Customer Trust and Reputation
When a small business faces a data breach, it becomes necessary for them to get in touch with the customers. This is a necessary step in rebuilding their brand reputation and gaining the trust of the customers. The best way is to alert the customers as soon as you have some firm information on the breach. This can be assisted with the assurance that their data and information are secured with the business, and they can continue business with the organization without any worries.
Source – Business news daily