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Home business entrepreneurs: The 6 best ways to prevent data breaches

(ENTREPRENEUR) Data breaches are an imposing threat for big to small businesses alike. We have 6 tips to prevent and protect data in your business.

Two employees working on computers representing data breaches.

The best way to avoid the stress and high costs that come with data breaches is to prevent them from happening. Data breaches are costly and hard to recover from. Therefore, it’s critical for home business entrepreneurs to learn and adopt preventive techniques. A data breach occurs when cyber criminals access your business data and other sensitive information.

A report released by IBM and the Ponemon Institute in 2020 revealed that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 worldwide and $8.64 million in the U.S. According to this report, it takes an average of 280 days for businesses to notice and contain a data breach.

When a data breach occurs, you can mitigate risks by acting promptly, containing the breach, and commencing the recovery process. However, by the time most businesses realize that they are victims of a data breach, much of the damage is already done.

Preventing a Data Breach

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Contrary to common belief, data breaches are not limited to big companies. Every business is at risk, irrespective of its size. Criminals do not merely focus on the biggest score; they seek a path of least resistance. Data breaches take many different forms; you should be on your guard and combine different strategies to protect your business.

Below are six ways you can protect your home business from data breaches.

1.  Create a comprehensive cyber security plan

Cybercriminals are sophisticated and organized, and the demands they pose calls for a well-defined plan. Home business cyber security plans do not need to be expensive or elaborate. However, they should be designed to meet the unique needs of the business.

2.  Restrict access

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The more people with access to your business data, the higher the chances of a data breach. Every person who logs into your business system could be the faulty link that exposes you to cyber criminals.

You could significantly reduce your vulnerability by limiting the number of people with access to your business data. You can restrict access by setting different user roles with varying levels of access to your internal systems. You should also avoid storing certain data like credit card numbers on electronic devices.

3.  Educate your employees

One of the most effective ways of preventing data breaches is by fighting ignorance. You can achieve this by educating your employees to ensure that your business data is not compromised.

For example, encourage your employees to create strong passwords and to change them regularly. You should also teach employees to identify and avoid phishing scams.

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If employees have access to work-issued tablets, laptops, and smartphones, they should not lose track of these devices. Your company policy should prohibit leaving such devices in open areas or taking them to unsecured places.

4.  Install and update software

You should install and update antivirus software to guard your systems from malware and viruses. All business systems and access points should maintain the latest version of antivirus software. Remember to hire software developers that can build robust cybersecurity software for your business. Also, ensure that you update software regularly, including browsers, applications, and operating systems.

5.  Data backup and recovery

It’s common for data breaches to maliciously delete your entire business data. Therefore, you should have your data backed up so that you can recover it in case of a data breach. Your IT department should have automated remote backup systems to prevent you from losing important data.

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6.  Network monitoring

It is important to have around-the-clock monitoring for your network. You don’t have to staff IT personnel at all times. Instead, you can work with managed IT services providers.

Protect Your Business Against Data Breaches

You should never underestimate the consequences of a data breach, irrespective of the size of your business. According to Inc., 60% of businesses close within six months of a cyber-attack. So, if you are a home business owner seeking to protect your business against data breaches, use the above simple tips.

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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he's not consulting, glued to a headset, he's working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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