From Outlook to Facebook, you spend a fair portion of your day conducting business online. Whether you email closing details to a client or post YouTube videos for listings, you benefit from instant access and user-friendly technology. Unfortunately, cyber thieves deploy sophisticated techniques to exploit your efforts and your customers.
Follow these 4 steps to keep your firm's digital data out of harm's way.
Protocol 1: Conduct Transactions Through Business Email Addresses
If you consolidate personal and professional communications into one account, you open yourself to tremendous risk. Due to a large volume of users, free services like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and others rank high on criminals' hit lists.1 Smaller, firm-specific email addresses often fly under the radar, making them a much safer alternative.
Protocol 2: Encrypt All Digital Activity
Encryption is the safest way to transmit digital information. Virtual private network (VPN) and email encryption software scrambles your data to everyone other than those granted permission by you. While encrypted data isn't 100% hack-proof, it takes a tremendous level of skill to decipher the scrambled contents—usually resulting in criminals choosing a less savvy target.2
Protocol 3: Train and Trust Employees
Only give trained and trustworthy personnel access to sensitive information. According to a recent survey conducted by Experian, 55% of respondents reported their companies experienced a data breach due to a malicious or negligent employee.2
Even the most honest worker can get tricked into handing over private information if they're caught in a clever phishing or hacking con. Invest in continuing education on digital safety, so everyone in your organization can spot red flags and take the right steps in the event of an attempted cybercrime.
Protocol 4: Consider Cyber Liability Insurance
Cyber liability insurance helps you cover your bases in the event of data theft. A reliable plan can step in to cover costs associated with notifying relevant parties of the breach, defending against claims, monitoring compromised credit information to check for suspicious activity and more. In the event of data theft, a cyber liability policy acts as one of your strongest allies.
Begin implementing these prevention strategies now to save yourself from an avalanche of stress later.
Information provided within this article is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge and is to be used for educational purposes only. It is not to be taken as professional legal counsel.
1Nelson, Lee. "9 Ways to Keep Data Secure." National Association of REALTORS®. N.p., August 2015. Web. 19 April 2017.
2"Managing Insider Risk through Training & Culture." Experian. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 April 2017.