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How to keep your data safe from hackers

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In the modern world, one of the key concerns for businesses is their data. A lot of companies rely on the data that they store for many of their essential operations. Whether it’s software that controls a factory or client emails, this data needs to be kept safe. But, this can be a challenge. As new ways to store and protect data have come about, new ways to exploit them have also been found. And, of course, sometimes it’s easy to make a simple error that will result in loss. So, to help you out, this post will be going through four different types of data. This should make it easier for you to keep all of your vital information safe.

Internal data

Some of the most important data that a company stores is internal. This is the sort of information that regards staff, customer reports, accounting, and much more. Basically, anything that your company uses as part of its operations is internal data. In a lot of cases, this can be the hardest data for a company to protect. But, it’s also some of the worst data to lose. You should never be overly relaxed about this sort of data.

A lot of businesses have to take data from customers to get their job done. In most cases, this sort of data is protected by data protection laws. This means that there will a set of requirement laid out for companies that handle data like this. It’s important to follow these laws and do as much as possible to keep things secure. If you fail at this and lose customer data, it could be very hard for you to recover. Customers will lose faith in you and your reputation will decline.

If your business has staff, you’ll have similar data about them, as well. This data will be protected in much the same way as customer information. But, if things go wrong, it could be much worse. You will store much more detailed information about your staff members. So, leaking the data could result in their addresses or bank details being lost. This could land you in court if you weren’t following the correct legal procedures when it comes to protection.

A lot of the data that businesses use can be considered working data. A lot of this may not be regarding customers. But, it’s still used in your day-to-day work. This would include price lists from your sources and contact information for partners. A lot of this data won’t get you into legal trouble if it’s lost. But, some of it may contain confidential information. In this case, you could be giving a rival company all of your juicy data, if you lose it.

By working within the law, you’ll find that it’s easy to keep this sort of data safe. Of course, you may also want to go a little further to make sure that you’re doing as much as possible to limit risks. One of the easiest ways to do this is by trusting in someone else. A company like Microsoft can offer you data hosting, which can be accessed like normal files and folders. With a service like this, you ensure that your data is protected to the highest standards.

Website

A business’ website can be their ultimate downfall. Attacks on websites are extremely common, with some only aiming to take out the website. Unfortunately, these attacks aren’t usually quite so kind. So, you have have to do everything you can to avoid them. Most of this involves working on your website to make sure that it is made securely.

When you visit most good websites, you’ll find that they have a small green padlock at the start of the URL. This means that a page is securely encrypted, using SSL. SSL stops people from being able to access your underlying web server from the client side. It can stop data from being intercepted and stolen. And, it can help to stop viruses from infecting your website. You can usually get an SSL certificate from your website host. Once you buy one, you just have to add it to the website. Most hosts will even do this step for you.

Contact forms and other types of entry method on a website are the perfect place for people to mess around with your server. It’s easy to run scripts through web forms, which can fill up a database in a matter of minutes. Other attacks are quite as kind as this, as well. In the past, sites have been entirely wiped by people doing this. To avoid it, your forms all need validation. This means that they need to be programmed in a way that checks exactly what is being entered. This can help to stop attacks before they even begin.

The type of server that your website runs on will dictate its security. Of course, most people use shared hosting because it’s cheap. But, this presents a backdoor to others on the server, who might want access to your data. Thankfully, this can be avoided without the use of a dedicated server. Instead, you can use a virtual private server, which won’t give the same access to people outside of your site.

Software

A lot of companies rely on their software to do their jobs. In some companies, this means using very specialist software, which can’t be bought from the shelf. In most cases, this means that the software is bought directly from a developer, rather than a big company. This can present it’s own set of issues, which are easy to avoid.

If you rely on a single developer to run and maintain your software, you run the risk of your software simply disappearing. If the developer goes out of business or leaves for any other reason, you may be left with the compiled version of the software. But, this won’t allow another developer to come and make changes down the line. This would leave your company with a useless piece of software. Especially if the program was in mid-development. This is where a source code escrow clause comes in.

An escrow protects both parties in an agreement like this. It means that the developer retains the rights to their source code. But, if they go, and the company still need to use the software, they will have access to start working on it themselves. With certain types of software, losing several years work could be a nightmare. If you can’t access the source code for an application, you’ll never be able to update it. The best hope you’d have would be to pay a developer to tear it apart and try to rebuild it.

An escrow agreement like this is simple. There’s a buyer, seller, and a third-party. When the buyer and seller come to an agreement, the third-party will broker it and make the arrangements. At this point, the third-party will take the source code for the software. If anything happens, and the developer has to go, the third-party will pass the source code to the buyer. This is considered an industry standard for this sort of transaction.

Emails

In recent years, there have been loads of reported attacks on people’s email accounts. There have even been some politicians and celebrities attacked with this sort of behaviour. Of course, this is completely illegal. But, that doesn’t stop people from trying access this sort of data. This means that it’s extra important to be on the ball. Your emails are possibly your least-safe digital asset.

A lot of the safety when it comes to emails comes from your host. The way that they handle encryption and security will make a big difference to your success. In most cases, it can be best to rely on a big company for this sort of work. They have to deal with so much sensitive information that they have to take it very seriously. Most companies like this have invested millions into making sure that their systems are secure.

A large part of email safety can be found with simple observation. By making sure that nothing weird is being sent from your accounts, and that nothing changes, you can avoid a lot of issues. A lot of the time, email accounts are spoofed. This means that someone is using a clever technique to jump onto your email address. They will be able to send emails that look like they’ve come from you. The only way to find something like this is through constant checks and evaluation.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to start working a lot harder on your digital security. It can be easy to fall-short in these areas. But, with the impact that it can have on your business, it’s not worth getting caught out. Of course, a lot of people might need help with this sort of thing. So, it can be worth using a professional IT consultant to help you with this work. This will make your life a lot easier. And, it will improve the quality of your security.

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