Forty-six percent of businesses reported at least one data breach, according to a survey of 1,523 UK businesses by the Institute for Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. This staggering number reveals that our businesses aren’t as safe as we think, and we are putting our companies and our customers’ privacy at risk. There are easy strategies you can follow to determine the security of the services you use and make an informed decision to switch if they are not.
Make Sure the Service Is PCI-Compliant
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), launched in 2006, is concerned with the security of businesses that store users’ credit card information and perform transactions. They maintain the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which details how companies should approach security so as to not put their customers in danger.
There are four PCI compliance levels; if your company isn’t up to these standards, processing any credit-card transaction could result in a penalty ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month. Most platforms state their PCI compliance, and it is a good indication of how secure they are.
Limit Access to Data About Your Customers
There is a trend of storing and sharing as much data as possible about your users for research and marketing. This is a dangerous strategy that could put your business in a PR nightmare if a breach were to occur. Hackers will have access to everything if they compromise a simple staff account. It is important to clearly outline the staff’s roles and privileges and not allow them to access data they don’t need to access. You should choose a platform that supports setting roles for your employees and has the ability to track accountability.
Use Platform-Specific Strategies
It doesn’t matter how great the platform is if you don’t utilize its security features. On certain platforms, it can be as easy as clicking a button to turn on two-factor authentication or secure connections. You have no excuse, as the popularity of the cloud means you can find great articles explaining how you can utilize these features to their fullest.
Always Use the Latest Stable Version of Technologies
Using outdated software is one of the main reasons why businesses experience data breaches. In fact, HP’s Cyber Risk Report, conducted in 2014, states that 44 percent of businesses were hacked because of outdated technologies that were two to four years old. Platforms usually have options to upgrade certain software across all of your virtual devices with a single click.
Encrypt Customers’ Data
Encryption technologies have been advancing steadily for the past half-century. There are ways to encrypt data that hackers can’t decrypt, even if they brute-forced it till the heat death of the universe. Some platforms offer automatic options that will automatically encrypt and secure your data.
Security risks are increasing, and customers are becoming more aware of a company’s security strategy. You should take care that the services you are using are secure. If things get overwhelming, there are great services that can manage most aspects of cloud security for you.