How do you keep your business information safe when you run a virtual business? You need to protect your own information, as well as that of your business partners, customers, and employees.
In Keeping Your Business Safe And Secure Online, we covered a few excellent ways—password and encryptions, cloud security, safe online payments, and physical safety of your paper files.
However, there are many more, and here is a list of an additional 10 ways:
1. Use an encrypted flash drive
These are especially useful when you are traveling and need to keep your information safe while using a portable device.
According to an encrypted flash drive manufacturer, there are just three steps:
- Step 1. Enter your PIN
- To get started, just enter your personalized custom encrypted PIN using the device keypad.
- Step 2. Plug & Play
- With Plug & Play functionality the device is ready for use once authenticated.
- Step 3. Unplug to Lock
- Device will securely lock with encryption automatically when it’s unplugged and disconnected.
2. Backup your data
When you backup your data, you create a duplicate copy. If your physical device is stolen or compromised, you won’t lose all your information.
Ideally, you should do the backup on an external hard drive. You can also backup on the cloud.
3. Use an anti-virus program and firewall to protect against malware
Malware is an abbreviated term for malicious software. It can infiltrate your computer in innocent ways, like an email download from a friend or downloading a useful piece of software from a website. It can also be found hiding in freeware, shareware, videos, photos, or files. Malware consists of computer viruses, scareware, spyware, and trojan horses.
A good anti-virus program will protect you from malware. Also use a firewall to prevent malware from infiltrating your computer system. While an anti-virus program will give you software-based protection, a firewall will give you hardware-based protection.
4. Be careful of how you dispose of old computers
In the course of your business, you will constantly be upgrading your computer and mobile devices as new, improved versions come out.
Before disposing of these devices, make sure that your hard drive is unreadable.
After backing up all your data and transferring your files to a new location, you should wipe the disk clean with software, or clean the disk magnetically, or shred the disk.
5. Keep up with your operating system and software updates
When you get a notification of an operating update, you may be too busy to bother to keep up. However, these updates will contain the latest security patches and will protect your computer from the most recent malware threats. One way to ensure that you keep up with updates is to set your computer to do it automatically. Updates apply to all operating systems, not just Windows or Mac.
Similarly, you will get notified of software updates. Automate these updates, as well. They also provide protection against newly discovered risks.
6. Turn off your computer after you leave the office
It’s often customary to let your computer default to sleep mode after you leave the office, but the new thinking about this is that you are better off turning your computer off completely for the night. This prevents any possible attack on your computer.
7. Use the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)
Indiana University Information Technology make the following recommendation: “Do not log into a computer with administrator rights unless you must do so to perform specific tasks. Running your computer as an administrator (or as a Power User in Windows) leaves your computer vulnerable to security risks and exploits.
Simply visiting an unfamiliar Internet site with these high-privilege accounts can cause extreme damage to your computer, such as reformatting your hard drive, deleting all your files, and creating a new user account with administrative access. When you do need to perform tasks as an administrator, always follow secure procedures.”
8. Carry your laptop or mobile device with you
When you carry any portable device, do not leave it around where others can get access to it. For instance, on a table in a coffee shop when you get up for another cup of coffee or in your car. An unattended laptop or mobile device is as tempting to an identity thief as leaving your wallet lying around would be to a regular thief.
In the same respect, don’t store your passwords in a file on any of these devices either. Or leave post-it reminder notes with this information near your computer in the office. This is equivalent to leaving your keys in a car.
9. Disable file and media sharing
If you are not actively making your files visible to other users in your office wireless network because you want to share files between devices or users, then disable file and media sharing.
It’s an unnecessary risk.
10. Overwrite your deleted files
When you delete data on a computer device, you don’t remove it permanently. It still exists on a disk, and it can be accessed by a criminal looking for sensitive information. By overwriting information, however, you can delete it permanently.
Add these additional tips to your data safety protocols. They will help you keep all your personal, business, and financial information safe inside the office and outside it, too, when you carry your portable devices with you.