Equifax could have avoided the ENTIRE data breach and the personal information of over 143 Million U.S. consumers would still be protected. All Equifax needed to do was install a patch to their Apache software program that would have eliminated the vulnerability the hackers used to steal the personal information of millions of Americans.
How the Equifax Breach occurred is an unfortunate, but impactful reminder of the simple and important steps all businesses can take to protect their sensitive business and patient information. Here are some of the top ways to protect your business data:
- Ensure you’re working with a dedicated and experienced IT Professional. I’ve heard too many small business professionals tell me: “I manage my IT network?” or “My brother manages my network”. Managing the IT network of an established small business can quickly become very complex. Due to the ever increasing rate of change within the technology arena, it’s virtually impossible to stay on top all that’s changing if you’re not 100% dedicated to managing, protecting, and growing a business IT network.
- Ensure your IT partner has a defined and efficient process to keep your software and systems updated. How often does your IT partner check for critical security updates of your operating systems and other software programs? Is the process automated? If not, what assurances do you have that security updates will consistently occur in a timely and effective manner?
- Use Antivirus software. Ensure that you have antivirus software installed, make sure it’s active, and make sure it automatically updates.
- Make sure you have policies and procedures in place to limit the personal internet browsing or email use of your employees while at the office. All it takes is the single click of a link in an email or on a webpage by an employee for your business to be dramatically impacted.
- When sending work email, use strong email server providers. A few recommended examples are Google Apps for Business (business version of Gmail) or Microsoft Office 365. These are good options because of their strong SPAM filters and their ability to segment or control user rights and access to content.
While the items above are a great start, consult with a dedicated and knowledge IT expert to ensure your business is taking steps to keep your data safe and protected.