It seems like every day a new story hits about a huge corporate data breach. Just recently, LinkedIn disclosed that a 2012 data breach was much larger than originally estimated and impacted 110 million users. In early May, it was revealed that information from more than 270 million hacked email accounts was being traded in the Russian underworld.
Protecting client information and internal data is important to the financial health and reputation of businesses. Many companies have startling gaps in their data security that can easily be exploited by malicious actors. To safeguard data, all corporations need to start with these three steps:
- Adopt company-wide computer use policy – Companies should have clearly defined policies regarding computer usage. The policy should address who has access to company computers, whether laptops can go home with employees, and other issues, such as use of virtual desktops for out-of-office access to company resources.
- Encrypt data – Encrypted data is much more difficult for hackers to access. Many will give up and move on to greener pastures if confronted with encrypted data. If you’re handing customers’ financial information, be sure to have software to encrypt the data the minute it hits your system.
- Eliminate passwords for employees – Passwords aren’t much of an obstacle for experienced hackers. Also, because many people use the same password for multiple accounts, once hackers have one password, they can access a variety of the password holder’s accounts. Many companies are transitioning to a system where employees insert a USB token into a device they’re using to verify their identity.
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