Small businesses are tempting targets for cybercriminals because they lack the ability to combat the problem that larger corporations do. They’re either hoping they don’t, or they’re hoping they don’t. Has your business been harmed as a result of a data breach? Consider hiring a digital forensics investigator to look at the system and identify any security problems they discover. For data recovery, digital forensics research, expert witness testimony, and much more, they’re indispensable tools.

It is critical to protect your customers’ data, not only for their sake but also for the sake of your company. And businesses like Facebook and Instagram are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hackers in this modern age. Encourage your staff to use complex passwords, search their work machines for viruses and malware on a regular basis, and delete all data before discarding it. Cyberattacks can affect any organisation, no matter how large or small.

Here are some realistic, actionable measures you can take right now to improve the security of your customers’ information.

1. Always Keep in Mind: You’re Never Too Small to Get Hacked

Small companies are the victim of 43% of cyberattacks. According to a new data breach report by Verizon, small businesses account for almost half of all cyber-attacks. Never take it for granted that it won’t happen to you; it can and will. For both large and small businesses, laxity increases the likelihood of a data breach.

Smaller firms typically have less resources than larger corporations, so they hope for the best when it comes to protecting data from cyberattacks. Any company should put money into data security for their customers. A data breach can affect even small businesses that sell goods through brick and mortar stores or online e-commerce.

According to statistics, cyber attacks are on the rise, but companies can never be too cautious. When it comes to protecting your customers’ data, being careful and cynical can get you a long way. Pay attention to how you handle your customers’ personal information; you want them to feel secure when paying for your goods or services.

2. Install Antivirus and Cybersecurity Software

Antivirus and cybersecurity software should be purchased by any company. When it comes to protecting your customers’ details, it’s best to leave it to the professionals; attempting to do so on your own is extremely dangerous. Avast Business Antivirus Pro, Kaspersky, Endpoint Security Cloud, Bitdefender, GravityZone, and Business Security are some of the best antivirus and cybersecurity digital defence options. All of the software listed includes a robust firewall to keep your customers’ data safe from cyber-attacks.

Once you’ve got the right software installed, you’ll need to keep up with software updates to gain access to new functionality and stay protected from security flaws found in older programmes. Don’t make the mistake of putting off software upgrades and patches; make sure it is up to date. It’s inconvenient to have to restart your device every now and then, but the additional security for your customers’ data outweighs the slight inconveniences.

3. Create Complex Passwords

This one may seem self-evident and common sense, but sometimes the simplest solution is the most powerful. For hackers, your work email codes, as well as access to your company website and computer, are the keys to the kingdom.

Making sure your passwords are unbreakable is the best way to keep your accounts secure.

Take the following measures to ensure that your passwords are secure:

  • Make them as long as possible
  • Make use of a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Using common terms sparingly.
  • Don’t use keyboard shortcuts.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security and authenticator mobile applications.

A password generator can come up with excellent passwords. To prevent anyone from breaking into your account, you’ll need a strong password. Since created passwords are difficult to remember, you can use a password management service to keep track of them.

4. Verify PCI compliance

PCI Compliance stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. PCI enforcement is a collection of standards aimed at ensuring the security of customer credit card details. If your company processes credit card transactions, make sure you’re following Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards when storing, processing, and transmitting cardholder data (PCI DSS). Customers will feel comfortable knowing that their personal information is managed safely if you incorporate PCI enforcement basics in your company. Here is a link to the PCI Compliance IT Checklist.

The 12 PCI Compliance Requirements:

  • Firewalls are a good way to keep your machine secure.
  • Passwords and configurations can be customised.
  • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data through free, public networks to protect stored cardholder data.
  • Antivirus software should be used and modified on a regular basis.
  • Update and patch applications on a regular basis.
  • Access to cardholder data should be limited to those who have a business need to know.
  • Each individual with computer access should be given a unique ID.
  • Physical access to the workplace and cardholder data should be limited.
  • Logging and log monitoring should be implemented.
  • Vulnerability scans and penetration checks should be performed.
  • Risk evaluations and documentation

Download the PCI Compliance Checklist to ensure that your company complies with all regulations.

5. Destroy Before Dumping

Data breaches can happen in the dumpster right behind the office. Old files and paper copies may be recycled, so make sure to cross-cut or shred them before throwing them away. Before reusing a device that previously contained confidential information, wipe the drive clean. To wipe the disc, make sure to use special software designed for that purpose. If your company is getting rid of a laptop, make sure to take out the hard drive and physically kill it.

6. Keep only the data you need

Examine the types of files you’re storing and decide if you still need to retain them. Customer names may be required, but check around to see if there are any files that can be deleted. Any data that does not explicitly apply to the company’s needs should be deleted. Do you really need to keep track of your customers’ credit card information? Such are your customers’ credit cards; you don’t need to keep them; if you do, you’ll cause a huge problem for yourself and your customers.

7. Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Between your customers’ data and others with malicious intent, you want to set up as much defence as possible. A virtual private network is one of the most effective ways to keep the customers’ data secure. By building a private network, a virtual private network (VPN) gives you full online privacy and anonymity. Your online activities would be untraceable thanks to a VPN masking your IP address. A VPN creates safe, encrypted connections that offer more protection than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

Controlling who can access your server and private network reduces the chances of outside intrusion. You and your company become more trustworthy with people’s information if you keep the data secure behind several security layers.

8. Encrypt your Customers Data

What is the meaning of encryption technology? Another way to keep the consumer details secure is to use encryption technology. Your company should invest in encryption software if it holds any confidential customer information. If you’re sending or receiving confidential data, you can also encrypt your business account.

9. Conduct a Penetration Test

This may be the most important move of all. Once you’ve set everything up, including your created passwords, antivirus, and cybersecurity protection tools, and you’ve connected to a private network or server, you’ll need to verify how well your customers’ data is protected.

We’ll conduct a penetration test to accomplish this. A penetration test, also known as a vulnerability test, simulates a cyberattack on your operating system in order to find exploitable flaws. Penetration testing is a popular way to enhance the security of a web application firewall (WAF).

The following are the stages of penetration testing:

  • Planning: The penetration testing firm will lay out the test’s logistics, priorities, legal ramifications, objectives, and targets.
  • Scanning: The pentester gathers as much information as possible about the company and future targets for manipulation.
  • Obtaining Targets are defined and attack vectors are mapped by the tester. Any data gathered is used to determine the attack method used during the penetration test.
  • Keeping access open: The pentester starts by testing the exploits found within your network, applications, and data, using a map of all possible vulnerabilities and entry points.
  • Analyze: Keep track of the tools you used to gain access to your company’s sensitive data.
  • Report: Receive written feedback from the penetration testing firm and a chance to review the report’s results.

To keep your customers’ data safe and make your firewalls and protection better, run vulnerability tests on all work machines on a regular basis.