News Feature | January 20, 2017

Celebrate Data Privacy Day By Tightening Your Cybersecurity

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Tips for strengthening the security of your sensitive data.

January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an international effort held annually to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. This year’s theme is “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, and Enabling Trust.”

Data Privacy Day was created in January 2008 in the U.S. and Canada as an extension of European Data Protection Day which commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international privacy and data protection treaty. Leadership of Data Privacy Day was then passed on to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in August 2011.

With cyber risks expected to intensify in 2017 as hackers become more cunning, it’s important businesses have a security strategy in place to protect their most important asset — their data. Following are some security tips for SMBs to help safeguard their information:

1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code and regularly update your antivirus and antispyware software.

2. Secure your networks with a firewall and encrypting information and password protect and hide your Wi-Fi network.

3. Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information and conduct educational training of employees to hold them accountable.

4. Employ best practices on payment cards to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being utilized.

5. Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often, and consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires addition information beyond a password to gain access.

6. Neutralize ransomware threats by creating backup copies of important business data and information, including word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resource files, and accounts receivable/payable files.

7. Closely monitor and control physical access to computers and network components, limiting access to authorized individuals only.

8. Create an action plan for mobile devices and BYOD, which can present serious security and management challenges. Requiring password protection, data encryption, and security apps on all devices will help strengthen security of these devices.