7 Steps to Secure Your Business’ Confidential Information

Security is crucial, especially when dealing with personal and sensitive information. The more safety measures your business has implemented, the less likely there is to be a breach of employee data, customer information, or accounting details. Needham Bank understands the importance of security, which is why we have come up with 7 ways that you can help your business be as secure as possible.

1. Start with security basics

A simple way to be more secure is to not collect personal information that you don’t need. Remember: no one can steal information you do not have. Keep this in mind when your company is asking for personal information from customers or employees and make sure to assess your need for it.

Similarly, only use collected personal information when it’s necessary and keep that information on file only while you need it. Sometimes collecting personal information is necessary, but once you have no further use for it, make sure to dispose of that information properly.

2. Control access to data sensibly

Once your company has decided that there’s a legitimate business need for certain information, you must ensure that the information is kept secure and access to sensitive data is restricted.

If an employee doesn’t need access to collected personal information to do their job, then there should be controls in place to restrict access. Similarly, administrative access, which allows someone to make system-wide changes, should be limited to a small number of employees tasked with that job.

3. Require secure passwords and authentication

Passwords are an easy way to ensure that only authorized employees are accessing specific personal data. Require employees to change their passwords every 60-90 days with guidelines to use varying passcodes for different sites.

Passwords should be at least 8 characters and include letters, numbers, and special characters in order to keep information secure. Additionally, don’t share your passwords with anyone, write your password on desk notes, or select the “Save My Password” option.

4. Segment your network and monitor who is trying to get in and out

Your business’ network should consider using tools such as firewalls to segment the network, preventing unauthorized outside access to or from a private computer network.

Sensitive data can also be protected by using a separate location on your network that not every employee computer communicates with. Make sure you have controls in place to monitor your network for suspicious activity.

5. Install computer security measures

Anti-virus software with automated updates and regularly scheduled anti-virus scans is another way to make sure that data doesn’t become corrupted. Or, if something happens to go wrong, the software catches it immediately and fixes it.

You should also make sure to regularly update third-party software such as Microsoft Office, Java, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Flash.

6. Put procedures in place to keep your security current and address vulnerabilities that may arise

Securing your software, networks, and computers is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. Create a plan for monitoring security vulnerabilities with frequency so as not to become complacent. When security warnings arise, listen and understand them and then move quickly to fix them so that you are always on top of your network security.

7. Secure physical information

Finally, although digital data has become incredibly prominent, businesses still have to deal with physical confidential information. When disposing of sensitive documents, make sure to shred them so that no information can be stolen. With documents that your business needs to keep, use lockable cabinets to store them.

Now that you have a good sense of how a security plan can benefit your business, make sure to actually apply these measures! It’s important to train your employees so that they are aware of how they can keep data safe and protected as well.

By following these 7 steps you will be helping your business’ confidential information be more secure than ever before. With these basics in place, just remember to stay smart and you will be off to a good start in reducing the risk of a security breach.