Are you afraid of getting hacked?

Do you need to build a cybersecurity protection plan from the ground up?

Perhaps you want to make your current one stronger to increase your level of security against cyber thieves.

Getting hacked is a big concern for most organizations right now. A data breach could seriously harm the reputation of your business and drive customers — and prospective buyers — right to the digital door of your more secure competitors. Cyber crooks are out there waiting to attack 24 / 7, whether you’re at work or not. Leaving your business vulnerable is a risk you don’t want to take.

Protecting the cybersecurity of your business may not be as difficult as you think. Here are the six steps you need to take to ensure your business data is never compromised.

1. Inventory all your data.

Work with the people on your team to identify all your current data sources. Put a particular focus on sensitive material that could harm the reputation of your business if it’s lost or stolen. Don’t try doing this alone. No single person knows everything about an organization. Even mom sometimes hides things from pop at the proverbial mom-and-pop operation. Make sure you consider all types of data, including:

  • Customer payment information
  • Patient health records
  • Personal financial information
  • Sales records
  • Contact information
  • Legal documents and information
  • Banking documents
  • Research
  • Human resource and payroll records
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Intellectual property.

Brainstorm a comprehensive list of everything your business stores, processes, transmits and communicates. This often turns into a vary BIG list, even for relatively small businesses. Don’t leave anything out. You never know what hackers could be interested in stealing or may be damaged in a cyber incident. This list will let you know everything you need to protect, along with what you have to check if a hack happens.

2. Document where all your business information is used and stored.

Once you identify all the information you have, document where it’s stored, used and transmitted. There are probably some obvious places everyone knows about like servers or databases. Don’t forget other things like spreadsheets, text documents, mobile devices or the cloud. Check with everyone who works with you. You never know where people could be storing things if you don’t have a plan for their proper care and maintenance.

You can’t protect your business data if you don’t know where it is. And you may not know where it is if you don’t ask around. This is a crucial step toward developing processes and procedures around how everyone should handle sensitive information.

3. Maintain an inventory of all your hardware, software and cloud storage services.

Once you know what data you have and where it’s stored and used, maintain an ongoing inventory of all of it. Things change everyday for most businesses. This list keeps you abreast of all the tech assets you need to protect. If you’re ever hacked you must have a clear and current picture of what records you have and where they’re located. It’s the only way to quickly understand what harm may have been done to your business and your client’s private information. Having a current inventory makes it possible for you to act quickly to make updates, back up systems that have been harmed, take protective measures and inform customers as quickly as possible.

4. Train employees — and all users of your systems — on how to handle data properly.

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking about cybersecurity as an IT issue only. It’s not. It’s a company-wide concern that everyone must be involved in. In the end, protecting sensitive data is the ultimate responsibility of the people who handle it — and look after it — day after day. If the people you work with don’t get that part of their job is cybersecurity, how can you expect them to do it? Train them on everything they need to know to be able to do things like recognize and report phishing attacks and baiting, understand how to use passwords correctly and protect your systems and data.

5. Implement multi-factor authentication.

Even the best cyber security plans have flaws. That’s why it’s critical for organizations to implement multi factor authorization as an added layer of protection. At many businesses, access to sensitive systems and data is protected only by a login name and password. Technology has made it easier for cyber crooks to figure them out, providing easy entry into business data systems.

Multi-factor authentication forces users to verify that they’re trying to access software, a system or other tech asset through a text message, email or app. It’s a double check to prove they are who they claim to be and that they’re authorized to access the asset. It’s almost impossible for cyber criminals to break into anything that is protected by multi-factor authentication.

6. Get help when you need it.

Cyber security isn’t easy. That’s why so many businesses fail at it. Most aren’t staffed correctly or have the knowledge required to handle all aspects of it. That’s why they partner with a firm like GeeksHD. Our professionals will work with you to identify issues with what you’re currently doing to protect the security of your operation and help tighten your cyber security plan so it’s less likely that hackers will do damage to your business.

Also, if your organization experiences a cyber theft, we’ll be there to help limit damage, recover quickly and guide you through the legal issues you could face.

Never take chances with the future of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. A single data breach could destroy the reputation of it, losing the trust of your customers and those considering doing business with you. Don’t wait to build a solid data security plan for your business and get the support you need to effectively execute it.