Data protection can decrease the chance of cyber-attacks which could adversely affect your business and reputation. It’s important to understand the best practices for safeguarding your sensitive information and follow them. A breach of personal information could lead to lawsuits or fines, which could have long-term repercussions for your company or yourself.

Secure all devices and files by using the use of a password. This simple measure will ensure that hackers are not able to gain access to your information. Use strong passwords with complex combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. Change default passwords supplied by vendors to stronger ones immediately. Update your anti-virus software regularly and conduct a security test on your servers and computer.

Do not send sensitive or personally identifiable information via email. This includes Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, etc. Email is not secure and may be intercepted by hostile parties.

Secure your network and data – Use strong encryption to protect your computers, laptops and portable storage devices. This will help you to send information to third-party organizations securely and to protect information on the devices. It’s also important to have a strategy for responding to cyber attacks which includes who to inform and how to respond (e.g. employees, customers, credit agencies).

Make sure you backup of all your data – Keep offline copies of your critical data in separate locations from where your primary copies are kept. This will help to prevent hackers from gaining access to your primary copy, or from delete it.