Big companies aren’t the only ones that should be concerned about data security, as small businesses are regularly at risk for data breaches and other cybercrimes. Payment and personal information, client contacts and bank account details should never be compromised, as the consequences for those affected could be dire. Businesses must be deliberate to avoid these circumstances and remain safe.

Since small businesses are particularly vulnerable to attacks, taking measures toward securing data before launch (or as soon as possible) is recommended.

Avoiding these 7 common security mistakes is a great step toward securing your business’s safety.

1. Failure to control access to data

Organizations should deliberately limit access to sensitive data. Granting privileges to an excess number of people heightens the probability of being hacked. The only access given to a worker should only be enough to help them do their job. Employees should only be able to install work-related software.

As soon as an employee leaves the company, user access should be revoked. Organizations must also make a habit of regularly monitoring and supervising access rights. These measures will reduce the odds of losing valuable data and make pinpointing the root cause of issues easier.

2. Complacency in passwords

You’ve probably heard this one before, but many companies are still not keen on regular password changes and the need for stronger passphrases. For hackers, a weak password is an invitation. Strong passwords must be 12-14 characters, and avoiding automatic logins is recommended. Changing passwords every 90 days is also best practice.

It may not seem simple to generate a new password for every platform, but consider it. Having the same password for all sites compromises all your information when one account is hacked.

3. BYOD

Letting customers bring their own devices to work and using them to access confidential data is the biggest mistake made by most companies. Allowing both personal and professional devices to the workplace has become the norm, but it can create security risks. No manager should be comfortable with potentially having sensitive information walk out the door with employees. Startups are most inclined to BYOD as a savings strategy, but they should proceed with caution.

If they must, organizations should have rigorous BYOD policies outlining the rules for accessing data from offsite locations. An effective policy should also incorporate mobile device management, which gives the IT team access to devices that use the company’s network. This mobile management should also facilitate them to wipe or withdraw access to stolen or lost devices.

4. Failure to educate employees

Just as loose lips sink ships, loose fingers will sink your business. No matter how good your IT team may be, it is necessary to educate your workforce about the need for data security and how they can help ensure it. This education includes teaching safe downloading, how to avoid virus infections and threat detection during security training sessions. Training can be done regularly so employees stay in the loop about emerging threats.

5. Absence of maintenance

Many companies make no effort in keeping up with emerging cybersecurity standards. They still rely on legacy techniques that leave them exposed to the savvy modern-day hacker. Technology is dynamic, and traditional security approaches are simply unreliable. Be vigilant to maintain and update security protocols to seal all gaps in a network’s security. Scheduled scans and updates are the best way to ensure software and hardware are in optimum condition and fully secure.

6. Insecure data storage

Many people store data on USB drives, which are usually attached to key rings. Many of them are left lying around in places where anyone could access the sensitive data on them. Many companies also use tape backups that are often taken offsite. The loss of a thumb drive, phone or tape could mean financial loss or even create legal trouble for your business.

Those that choose portable storage devices should invest in strong encryption tactics to keep data safe at all times.

7. Trying to do everything in-house

Taking a DIY attitude to everything could cause future issues. Whether a big or small business, enlisting help can mean the difference between catching costly mistakes. Consider partnering with reputable service providers to ensure that sensitive information is being handled by experts. This way your team can focus on performing their duties without fear of security breaches.

Ensuring data security is a full-time job that involves upgrading security efforts. The dangers are real, and you should never assume that your business is too small to attract hackers. Complacency exposes companies to attacks, so be sure to remain alert to avoid security breaches.

To see if your organization is at risk, please give us a call at (513) 712-1212. We welcome the opportunity to evaluate your level of exposure.