Keeping Your Data and Your Customers' Information Safe is Now More Important Than Ever: How Cyber Security Became a Billion Dollar Industry

As technology progresses, so do the abilities of cyber criminals. Over the years, large corporations have experienced major cyber breaches. The most talked about case was that of Yahoo, where over 3 billion accounts were affected in 2013. Eight years later and people are still talking about the incident. These types of breaches are still, even in 2022, fairly frequent and it’s something that you must protect against at all costs.

Any business, whether big or small, is at risk, and that’s why cyber security has become a billion-dollar industry. Find out why it has become more important now than ever before to keep your customers' information safe in this post!

You’re Always a Target Especially When it Comes to Money

If you’re a small business owner, you may not believe cybercriminals could target you. But whenever you’re dealing with bank transfers, you’ll always be a target. If you’re selling products or services, customers will need a means of paying you through a portal. 

Payment processes should be effortless but also secure. You’ll need to shop around for the best merchant services that offer multiple payment options, including: 

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards 
  • Mobile payments such as Google Pay or Apple Pay
  • Cryptocurrencies 

Additionally, your merchant should have 24/7 support in case you’re experiencing problems with the platform. The services should have extensive security, such as EMV readers, military-grade encryptions, and advanced fraud detection. 

Merchant services will also have the latest compliance and regulations to ensure the protection of your customers' data. 

Companies Designate a Specific Team to Handle Data

Not everyone has experience with data compliance and how to keep information safe from cyber criminals. That’s why it’s important to hire a team of data professionals, including data privacy specialists and crisis managers. Professional IT members can also prevent data breaches by monitoring your systems. 

Your team will be in charge of choosing the right software to protect your digital infrastructure and using it to maintain your system. What’s more, they’ll also monitor your employees' activities to ensure they’re not the cause of the data breaches. 

The Importance of Security Software

Antivirus software may not be enough to protect data files, so you’ll need advanced security. You must have quality Web Application Firewalls to prevent breaches between your website service and data connections. All data that passes through these connections are monitored. 

You’ll also need website and software scanners to regularly scan information for potential threats. Once you’ve got the right software installed, you must ensure you update these systems regularly, so they’re able to deter new threats that are developed. 

Your cyber security team can be in charge of maintaining your security software. They should also regularly back up your company’s systems to prevent data loss. 

You Must Have Strong Passwords for All Portals 

Your customers' data is at high risk if your portals aren’t password protected. Unauthorized users can then easily access your systems to steal private information such as banking details, locations, and social security numbers. 

Without passwords, you may even experience fraud and monetary theft from your company’s bank accounts. Hackers can hold information for ransom. Ransomware could cost your company over $1 million. 

That’s why all employees must have passwords to access their devices and portals. You can also make passwords expire, so that staff members are forced to change them regularly. 

Passwords should be at least 16 characters long and must include a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. 

Regular Testing for Vulnerabilities 

Your goal is to create as many obstacles as possible to prevent hackers from gaining access to your customer's data. The best way to prevent criminals from stealing important customer information is to move your digital infrastructure to a secure private network.

With private servers and networks, you have full control over who has access to your network. This helps you decrease outside interference and allows you to password-protect certain portals. Your IT team can then monitor your systems effectively and put more security in place to prevent cyber criminals from infiltrating your devices. 

Having multiple layers of security is a regulation requirement, especially if you’re storing consumer data. You must ensure that you adhere to these regulations, or you could receive fines, which can affect your company’s reputation. 

Train Staff on the Importance of Cyber Security

Some data breaches can occur through email phishing or when a staff member plugs in a virus-infected USB. It’s important for you to train your staff on how to recognize phishing scams and what the rules are when using private external hardware. 

Training your staff helps employees understand the risks involved when they don’t comply with cyber security regulations. Furthermore, it makes defenses against cyber attacks more robust. Encourage your team to speak to your cyber security department if they suspect a potential data breach so the problem can be solved before it worsens. 

Final Thoughts 

The reason why cyber security has become so prevalent is that data is a goldmine for criminals. They can make millions of dollars selling customer information to the highest bidder. Data is a much-traded commodity and one we, as a society, don’t pay enough attention to. We are all guilty of either giving away this information too freely or not protecting our crucial information from nefarious individuals and organizations.

The issue of cybersecurity is a hot topic, and we are, slowly but surely, becoming more aware of how to protect ourselves, and from a business perspective, it’s vital you do as much as you can to keep your customers 100% safe and secure, anything less is a fundamental failing and reflects poorly on your business and there genuinely is no excuse in 2022 for not mitigating pretty much all aspects of risk associated with the field.

Efforts to these issues happening to you and your users can be helped by following the tips in this guide.