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5 Ways to Keep Your Business’s Information Safe Online

When more business is done online than ever before, it’s essential to know how to keep your information secure. Not only are your systems vulnerable, but there are a number of types of crimes that can target your business to steal identities, obtain your information, and damage your prospects. Keep in that mind that besides your obligation to protect your customers and the importance of your reputation as a safe company to give information to, you can also lose profits and important data if someone accesses your information.

Use Two-step Authentication

One of the biggest dangers that faces your business is people stealing your information. Using two-step authentication can help prevent someone from gaining unauthorized access to your accounts and files. Two-step authentication means that every time someone tries to access accounts associated with your business, they have to use two pieces of information to log in. One example is combining a password with a code sent to a mobile device. It helps ensure that the person accessing the information is the one who has the right to do so.

You can also use other measures to protect your most sensitive data other than just passwords and mobile device codes. There’s security questions and biometric data as well. Some people use mobile apps instead of text messages with codes. One example of this is the Steam Guard application. When someone logs into their Steam account and two-step authentication is enabled, they have to enter a code that the app gives them.

Secure Your Network

You should have both secure networks and firewalls in your place of work. If you leave your network open so that people can connect easily, you’re trading convenience for a lack of safety. If people gain access to your Wi-Fi network, they can easily get into your system and cause problems for you. Another thing to consider are the firewalls that prevent people from breaking into your systems. If you aren’t using firewalls, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to outside influence.

Be Aware of Cyber Crime

Public Safety Canada says that, “Criminals now sell information stolen online, such as credit and debit card numbers, login passwords for computer servers, and malicious software designed to infiltrate and damage targeted systems. Even those of us who are diligent in protecting our personal information online are at risk of having our personal data stolen from the third parties we share it with.” This means that you need to be aware of the ways that you and your business can fall prey to cybercrime. Try to stay up to date on what’s happening both local and internationally so that you can spot the warning signs of a scam before it happens to you.

Use the Right Software

Having the right software installed and updated is essential to keeping your business information safe. One important type of software is antivirus protection. Each computer used to access business information -- and every computer in your workspace -- should be protected with one of these programs. It should always be updated and running. Check out this list of popular antivirus programs from PCMag if you aren’t sure which one to use.

Another kind of software to consider is a virtual private network. VPNs mask your IP address and help keep your Internet history more private. They’re especially important when someone has to access your business information from outside your office. Often people work remotely on less-than-secure connections. A VPN can help hide the data being viewed from interlopers. Check outthis list of VPNs if you aren’t sure which one to use.

Establish Protocols

It’s especially important when you have a large staff to establish protocols and make sure everyone understands them and follows them. For example, if you aren’t supposed to take data offsite, it’s essential to go over that with new staff and to periodically update existing staff on the procedures. The more you create and enforce security protocols, the more you’re likely to stop potential problems before they crop up.

You should also have protocols for what to do if there is a problem and information is stolen or corrupted. Being prepared for the worst means that you’ll already know what steps need to be taken to fix things, communicate with customers, and restore any services you lost when the information was intercepted. Sit down with your IT staff and work on creating a plan before disaster strikes.

If you sit down and create a plan to keep your business information secure, you’re more likely to come out ahead instead of waiting to respond when something bad happens. Use of proper software, security, and communicating with your employees about how what protocols are in place will make your workplace more secure. Always stay safe online and your business will have a much better chance of thriving.