Businesses all work with clients and consumers in one way or another. With the increased focus on e-commerce and online dealings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is an inseparable part of all companies.
With that reliance comes security concerns. To adequately protect all client data in 2021, businesses must take the following steps.
For any business, small or large, the first step on the path to better client data security is to reevaluate the current standing of the company. With the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 pandemic, things around the workplace have likely shifted as well. Remote work is likely a necessity, which involves more technology to protect.
For client data to remain safe, employees must adapt to some changes. Passwords must be strong, they may want to use a virtual private network (VPN), and they should only have access to limited files. With more access comes more entrance points for cybercriminals.
In the office, too, storage tech and security protocols may be outdated. It’s essential to check for new software that can do more. For instance, cybercriminals can easily bypass any software that only offers one protection layer.
Protecting client and customer data is a team effort. Even small businesses may employ dozens of people. It’s critical for everyone to understand the risks and recognize the signs. Most pressingly, 25% of Americans have received a phishing email because of the pandemic.
Employees must recognize suspicious content in emails like a lack of context, asking for personal or business information, or asking for client data or any form of financial data. This training will be ongoing, as hackers continuously adapt.
Recognizing breaches, too, is necessary. Suspicious timestamps, altered files and abnormal usage are all things to keep an eye out for.
Just as basic security won’t cut it anymore, neither will full disk encryption services. If a breach compromises data, the system won’t be able to take sufficient action. Instead, businesses need the strongest software to protect client data.
First, endpoint detection and response (EDR) and next-generation antivirus (NGAV) systems are necessary frontlines of defense. These systems only go so far, however. They don’t protect from inside threats like malware or stolen passwords. Using systems like Cignet Secure SSD ensures that data storage locations come with protocols that run deep and take action automatically.
If businesses use the cloud for storage, they should ensure that they work with only the best companies. Microsoft Azure, for example, is ideal for creating a safe, encrypted environment. The best systems will be ones that take action on all levels to prevent or address breaches.
A breach can happen at any time to any business. Entire industries could risk being compromised by even a single hack. For instance, the healthcare field should use systems and software to improve data protection just as any other organization should. The little details will make a difference in the end.
Multi-factor authentication includes strong passwords and something like biometrics to ensure the right people have access. Using this form of authorization will be necessary on mobile and in-office devices.
Similarly, creating a disaster recovery plan is critical. A business will need to know how to address a breach should it happen, by contacting those whose information has been stolen, patching the breach, and focusing on solutions so it doesn't happen again.
It’s easy to forget these details, but they are invaluable for a strong client data security setup.
Lastly, professional help will go a long way. Companies should work with professional firms that specialize in all forms of cybersecurity. They can enact frequent reviews and audits to ensure their protocols are up-to-date and secure, and capable of protecting all client data.
2021 will see the pandemic continue, fluctuate and finally, hopefully, abate. Working from home has become part of the “new normal.” Consequently, so has all the technology that comes with it. With increased cyber crimes from the pandemic, protecting client data is more important than ever. These steps are the gateway to a secure workplace.
Devin Partida is the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com. She covers topics related to cybersecurity, smart tech and big data.