5 tips for ensuring data security

Often times it can be difficult for small business owners to think about data security in the midst of everything else going on, but forgetting about it can be a big mistake. 

These days digital security breaches are becoming more and more common, and business owners have to be increasingly aware of how to keep their information safe from hackers. For a small business owner, the costs of dealing with a data breach can be overwhelming, so it is important that you set up safeguards now to ensure that your information isn't hacked in the future. Every business manager should consider their data security measures to be a top priority. For more on how to keep your information secure, read the advice below:

1. Change default account settings
One of the first things you should do to ensure data security is to delete the default password and username settings that come with any new system or computer that you acquire, according to The Wall Street Journal. One of the more common mistakes that small business owners can make when installing a new system is forgetting to change default settings. However, this is one mistake that can easily be fixed. 

2. Move everything to the cloud
New point of sale and management systems allow small business owners to store all of their data in the cloud, which can make business processes much easier, and information much more secure with the right storage system, Guy Chiarello, president of First Data Corporation, explained on the Huffington Post. The cloud is much more efficient than alternative data storage options, and security can be airtight. In addition to the extra layers of security offered through the cloud, you can also take advantage of simple data backups. 

3. Make sure you use strong passwords
A recent survey of employees from the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Australia, France and Germany found that 56 percent of the respondents use the same password for personal and professional applications. The Sailpoint survey found that 2014's most popular password for business employees was "123456." With the possibility high that your employees are using passwords as simple as "qwerty" it is extremely important that you emphasize the need for security. 

4. Consistently update your operating systems
Operating system manufacturers often release updates that include security improvements, so it is important that you keep an eye out for these, The Wall Street Journal noted. Anytime you see an update that includes an enhanced security patch, take advantage. A business that utilizes a system without the latest protections is an easy target for hackers. Also make sure that your software installed to prevent spam and spyware are always up-to-date.

5. Find a technology advisor
Like you should have a financial services expert who can guide you on tough money decisions, you should also have a technology advisor there to provide you with solid advice for tech choices. Small business owners would be well served by a technology advisor who can guide them on their data security choices, Chiarello explained. An expert on digital privacy would be able to advice you on the security solutions available to you and on how to come up with a plan that will keep your business information safe. 

Data security is vital for small business owners these days – the alternative could be devastating in terms of cost. Use the advice above to help you set up a plan for keeping your small business information safe from hackers and thieves scouring the Internet. 

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