The rise of technology in the modern age has brought about huge changes in the way that we run our businesses. It’s now easier than ever to promote your business online. You can instantly talk to people on the other side of the world. Cloud services have delivered powerful solutions to our new digital issues worldwide.
Sadly, even with all these advancements in technology, we now also face an increased threat to our online safety. In recent years, hackers, criminals and even cold callers have utilised these new technologies to their own ends. Businesses and governments alike have fallen foul of hacking breaches – only last week in Europe, a large telecoms retailer, called Carphone Warehouse, had a data breach in which up to 2.4 million customers had their personal details leaked. Almost 90,000 of those customers had their card details stolen.
Attacks like these have happened before – and they will happen again. Therefore, it is important to take steps to try and nullify the threats to your online safety.
A simple step, that most people overlook, is choosing a strong password for their online accounts. If a data breach were to occur, a date such as your birthday or when you got married would be relatively simple to find out. Having your password as 010180 is definitely not wise if you were born on New Year’s Day in 1980! Equally, setting your password as something simple like password or passcode would leave you vulnerable to attack. Using a common password for all your accounts leaves you open to attack – apps such as 1Password try to counter this, however you are then trusting that platform with all of your online safety. If you are worried that somebody has accessed your personal information, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Cancelling your debit / credit cards is the first logical move. Credit checking companies such as Experian can also be used to see if anybody has applied for credit under your name.
Those measures may help the individual affected by security breaches, but businesses have an obligation to put measures in place to help keep their client’s data secure. Storing data in a secure location is a must – web hosting companies offer different types of protection and encryption, so choosing the right one for your business is key. Any external communications – say, for example, sending personal details to another one of your offices over the web – should be encrypted. Public key cryptography is an accepted standard for doing this. Businesses should also adhere to the laws of the countries in which they operate with regards to data protection. By protecting themselves with the law consequently they will help protect themselves from hackers. At the very least, a business should declare what data it collects on its clients and how it intends to use it, who to contact about it, and how it is protected. Customers have a right to know how their online safety is effected by a business.
The products, services, or protocols mentioned above are methods in which customers or businesses are known to collect their data, and don’t represent a recommendation or endorsement of those methods. It is important for anyone to decide which data protection methods are suitable for them and their business.