Contrary to what you may expect, small businesses are frequent targets of hackers. While the yield may be comparatively smaller than what can be gained from a large corporation, small businesses are seen as more vulnerable to cyber attacks due to lack of resources to fully protect sensitive information.
A breach can cause irreparable harm to your business’ reputation and customer relationships. There are steps you can take, however, to protect your customers’ data from a breach.
- Have a payment processing system that is up to date
Modern systems with the latest technology and chip readers are necessary to protect customers’ credit card and other sensitive information. Older systems are also more desirable to criminals who use skimming devices on customer facing payment terminals.
- Protect paper documentation
A data breach isn’t confined to electronic data, paper is just as vulnerable. Keep documents with sensitive information in a secure location. If a secure storage company is cost prohibitive, invest in a locked cabinet or safe. When disposing of any documents containing sensitive information shred, shred, shred. These steps not only protect your business and customer information from thieves who break in, but also keeps it safe from rogue employees.
- Utilize cloud storage
Keeping your business information stored on a local hard drive is a dangerous proposition. Not only are they less secure from hacking, but you could lose everything if it gets stolen or destroyed. Cloud desktops and servers, like those hosted by Newtek Technology Solutions, offer state of the art protection in a secure data center facility. You can’t watch your information 24/7, but a data center can.
- Be PCI Compliant
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (also known as PCI DSS or PCI) were established by the major credit card companies to protect cardholder account information. Compliance with these standards will lower your risk of a breach by building security measures to prevent theft and fraud.
All the protections in the world won’t protect you from human error so it imperative that you and your employees are meticulous in protecting your business. Don’t leave papers laying about. Do lock computers when leaving them unattended. Don’t turn away from an open register even for a second. Do check card readers daily for skimmers or other suspicious devices. Most importantly, pay attention no matter how hectic things are. Distraction is a criminal’s best friend. Stay focused. Stay alert.
Sometimes, however, no matter how diligent you are, a breach may happen. If you are ever alerted to a breach, real or suspected, there are going to be costs involved that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason alone, it is worth investing in Breach Insurance. A policy will cover the cost of a mandatory forensic audit, card replacement, and other expenses related to the incident.