No-one can possibly be unaware of the increase in both the frequency and the severity of data breaches that has taken place in recent years, with prominent government bodies, global megacorporations and tech giants all having been breached at one time or another by hackers. And if the big corporations and literal governments are vulnerable, then so are we all. If each new data breach makes you more conscious of your own data security, then that’s probably the silver lining on this particular cloud.
It is particularly important to bear in mind that if your personal data is not safe – and the above examples show how it can often be very unsafe – then your business data, too, is under threat. So it is all the more important to have a rigorous approach to IT security, and that means there is no such thing as “too much” security. Doing everything you can personally to stay protected – and then seeing if there’s more that can be offered by experts – is essential in this day and age.
A Chain is as Strong as its Weakest Link
From a business point of view, it is of course essential that you protect your own data as rigorously as you can, but even more so that you ensure that any employees or business partners you may have are on the same page. One scintilla of weakness can be all it takes for your entire business to be put under threat by hackers – and for the personal information of all employees, customers and potentially even contractors to become compromised. This means that you need everyone who accesses your business mainframe to be as security-conscious as you are.
What Does That Mean?
As you may be aware, large numbers of people were forced to work from home for the bulk of 2020, and the advantages of “telecommuting” have convinced more than a few that it’s something they’d like to do long-term. If that is to be the case, there have to be some firm ground rules laid down. Anyone accessing sensitive business information from home must do so via a VPN. If they are to do so from a public space, such as a library, then they must not use public WiFi, which makes them more vulnerable to hackers. If this means the business must pay for VPN memberships and WiFi dongles for employees, then that will cost a fraction of what a data breach will set you back.
What are the Repercussions if You Don’t?
Plainly, every business that holds a lot of customer information – and that’s just about every business, these days – runs a tremendous risk if their security is breached. If you are found to be the subject of a data breach, then you are required to inform your customers that their data is at risk. Those customers will be within their rights to demand you erase all data that you hold on them, and take their business elsewhere – and any effort you make to attract new customers to replace them will be negatively impacted by the publicity that comes with being breached.
In short, if you think you’re over-protected, there is no such thing. If you think that your current level of protection is sufficient, you might want to run it by an expert to see if they agree.