Financial data is an important organizational element because it consists of confidential information like credit card numbers, payment histories, and statements. Using financial data, business leaders can determine which options they can afford whenever they’re making crucial decisions. If they can securely store vital information, they can protect the privacy of stakeholders and customers alike.
Most companies process their business transactions online because it is both convenient and efficient. Unfortunately, online transactions expose data to risk factors such as identity theft, data breach, intellectual property violation, and liquidity threats. In turn, your organization also risks facing immediate consequences, such as a diminished reputation, loss of customer and investor trust, and potential lawsuits from affected individuals.
In this article, you’ll learn five surefire strategies to protect your company’s financial data to actively prevent different kinds of online threats.
Enable Data Backup
If your data gets compromised, a good data backup could help prevent you from losing valuable information. However, simply storing the data on an external hard drive is far from ideal; physical hard drives could be stolen, and physical damage to the storage units could make the data inaccessible.
Instead of spending money on backup hard drives, you may consider investing in an online backup service with a provider like Vancouver-managed IT services. Aside from providing you with better data backup security, they also have teams of digital backup experts that can handle data restoration so there’s no need to spend time, manpower, and resources maintaining and restoring files from backup.
Use Online Payment Systems
Ensuring financial protection and saving organizational budgets go hand-in-hand. If you’re carelessly inputting your debit and credit card information into third-party website forms, you risk exposing sensitive information to the site’s owners. While this method of payment enables quicker checkouts, hackers can also access the information you provided if they gain access to these websites.
The best way to avoid this issue is by eliminating the need to use your payment details when buying online. This is possible with the help of trusted online payment systems. Instead of providing your contact details on your next order, you can use the credentials provided by the online payment system, which does not contain sensitive information.
For businesses, setting your business to be compatible with an online payment system also means you’ll never have to worry about storing your customer’s credit card info. This means you don’t put them at risk, should you get compromised by hackers. This, in turn, builds customer trust and loyalty.
Regularly Update Your Software
Most programs used for organizing information receive updates every now and then to improve their functionality or security. If you avoid these updates, there’s a chance that your software won’t be able to open files created by more updated programs. Even worse, opening important business documents with outdated software could cause compatibility issues that might also run the risk of causing file corruption.
Keeping your software updated also has something to do with file security. Outdated programs use old encryption methods that many hackers are already familiar with. On the other hand, files encrypted by updated software take longer to decrypt because there’s a chance that hackers don’t have access to the proper encryption key.
Using the latest security plug-ins and up-to-date web browsers with anti-malware functionalities can alert you about risky websites. This can prevent you from accidentally blundering into phishing websites or downloading malware. This is especially important for business owners since some members of the staff might not be savvy enough to actively avoid potentially malicious sites. Last but not least, upgrading software updates will help you reduce costs since you won’t have to pay IT experts to fix your organizational devices.
Assess Your Passwords
Another effective method to protect your business’s financial data is by evaluating your password security on various websites. You must ensure your digital accounts aren’t easily accessible to third parties, except your trusted employees. Besides entering your credentials, these websites and apps should require you to enter a one-time code sent to either your phone or email.
You should also make sure you use longer, harder-to-guess passwords. Keep in mind that using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers will help you come up with stronger passwords. Then, instead of closing the web browser after performing financial operations on the banking platform, you should always tell your employees to log out.
If you want to prevent authentication credentials from being stored, you must consider using browser protection tools. This technology is designed to ensure the protection of your online banking activities, which helps you safeguard your financial data. Alternatively, you may choose privacy browsing sessions if you want to disable cookie-based monitoring and refrain from third parties from snooping on your browser history.
Educate Your Staff To Recognize Security Threats
Most data privacy threats are caused by external factors, but some risks may come from within the organization. That said, entrepreneurs must do everything possible to avoid cybersecurity breaches by providing cybersecurity training for the entire staff. If the staff has substantial knowledge as to how cybercriminals can gain easy access to financial data, they will be more effective at identifying possible threats to data privacy.
Promoting awareness about IT security and data issues and establishing a fully equipped workforce requires you to address relevant content areas with a comprehensive training program. Your program must be able to tackle risk assessment, access controls, remote access to systems, data backup, disaster recovery, and data security breach notification protocols. Aside from that, you also have to select a training method that fits the needs of your organization, which may include on-demand, virtual classroom, or on-site training sessions.
Businesses and individuals alike must prioritize their online financial data so they can protect the confidential payment information of their customers, stakeholders, and investors. As a business owner, you must consider following these five strategies in securing the digital financial data of your organization. In turn, you can actively ensure the confidentiality of your business partners and clients without threatening their confidential data.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.