Top 5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Your Company’s Data from Being Stolen

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Top 5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Your Company’s Data from Being Stolen

Every business has important information that they need to protect no matter how big or small they are. Last year, around 155.8 million individuals were affected by data exposures. Many of those data breaches could have been avoided and those business owners wouldn’t have had to worry about their company being in jeopardy. By being precautious and taking the right security measures, your company’s data will be safe from outsiders who might try to steal it.

1.    Always Dispose Of Documents After They Are No Longer Needed

Picture of hand putting paper into paper shredder with shreddings at the bottom.

One of the easiest ways strangers can steal your company’s data is through paper. If you keep paper files of anything, outsiders can find them more easily than the data on your computer. It might sound strange, but there are people who will go through your trash to find the data they need to steal your money and destroy your company. You can prevent this from happening by shredding any important paperwork with your company’s information on it after you’re finished with it, including mail with your address on it, itineraries, receipts, invoices, and checks.

Similarly, when you no longer need a computer, tablet or flash drive, “wipe” it and destroy it. Simply putting technology in a dumpster is not effective. Many companies (including Able IT Pros) provide hardware disposal services. As a tip, always ask for documentation of the disposal…just in case!

2.    Assess and Restrict Access to Data That Has to Be Protected the Most

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By assessing your data, you’ll be able to know exactly what you need to protect the most and what you can do to make sure it’s completely protected. Greg Kelley, EnCE, DFCP, of Vestige Digital Investigations, says, “Hire an outside expert to assess what data you have, how you are protecting it (not how you think you are protecting it) and where that data is going. While you may think it is an unnecessary cost, if you report to clients and potential clients that you have had an outside data assessment, you may find it puts you at an advantage over your competitors.” After you finish the data assessment and find out what needs to be protected the most, try to limit what your employees have access to. By limiting the data your employees have access to, you limit your chances of your data being stolen.

3.    Make Sure Your Firewall is Enabled

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This is something simple you can do to protect your company and it won’t take up that much of your time. A local firewall (the firewall on your device) will block unauthorized access and give you more security for your company’s data. To make sure it’s enabled on a Mac computer, go to your settings, click on system preferences, click on security and privacy, click on firewall, and then click on turn on firewall if it’s not already turned on. The process is similar for Windows computers. After you go to your settings, select a network profile and under Microsoft Defender Firewall, switch the setting to on.

4.    Use Strong Passwords for Everything

Illustration of weak and strong passwords

To make sure outsiders can’t get into your company’s network or access data on any of your devices, use passwords that are hard to guess and crack. For example, using long passwords with numbers, capitalized letters, and special characters are usually hard for others to guess. Furthermore, password hacking programs could take millions of years to crack strong passwords. If you use all of these things each time you create a new password, your company’s data will be more secure.

5.    Use Encryption and Proxy to Make Sure All of Your Data is Safe

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Encryption can turn your data into a code that only you can access and proxy filters out anything that puts your data at risk. Roberto Arias Alegria, an IT Security Consultant at Metaluxo IT Security, says, “That free internet at the airport or the cafe is actually shared with dozens or hundreds or other users who might be sniffing your traffic. Since encrypted connections (SSL) are far from universal, an easy to use proxy service can save you from prying eyes (e.g. Zenmate, or TunnelBear).” By using encryption and proxy together, it will keep your data secure away from outsiders and protect your company.