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How to Protect Your Small Business from Data Breaches: 8 Data Protection Measures for SMBs

Virtually every business today is digital, and data is no longer something that we have to ‘see’. Just like how we have physical locks and safeguards for physical premises, it’s also important to protect your digital premises from compromise by today’s cyber threats.

There are many statistics about the cyber risks faced by small businesses today that many may not take fully into account. What’s driving them is that, just like how small businesses have easier access to scalable technologies like cloud software and no-code apps, its also true that on the dark web, cyber criminals are using more accessible and scalable tools.

So in this piece, we’re going to give you 8 practical measures you can take to secure your small business from data breaches.

What Are Business Data Breaches and Why Do They Matter?

Data breaches occur when an unauthorized person or party gains access to the data that your business holds. For example, by finding out a user’s credentials, without other safeguards in place, a cyber criminal will be able to access the same information as them.

It doesn’t just stop there; they may use this access to encrypt data, bringing a business to a grinding halt, and they may use data for fraudulent activities. Because of their deeply disruptive impacts, breaches can compromise trust, cost considerable time and money to deal with, and can compromise your regulatory compliance.

But, fortunately, with the right internal strategies and tools and some cyber-savvy IT support like the kind that we provide to businesses in Ohio, Boardman, Youngstown, and Mahoning County more broadly, it’s possible to safeguard your business data. Let’s explore eight effective measures to shield your SMB from unwanted cyber attention.

1. Understand Your Data Landscape

The first step in protecting your business is understanding what you need to protect. Identify the types of data you handle and where—be it customer information, financial records, or employee details. Consider your hosting, cloud apps, local devices, and more.

For businesses in Ohio and regions including Boardman and Youngstown, local IT support services can give you personalized advice, and in practice, ensure your data is not only protected but securely backed up to other locations. This will not only provide protection, but also business continuity in the face of unexpected cyber incidents.

2. Implement Strong Access Controls

Limiting who can access what data within your organization is crucial. Use role-based access controls across your software to ensure employees only have access to the information necessary for their job roles. This minimizes the risk of internal breaches.

Engaging a local IT support team in Ohio can help tailor these controls to your specific needs, providing an extra layer of customized security.

3. Educate Your Team

Human error remains one of the largest vulnerabilities in data security. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cyber incidents are connected to human error!

Regular training sessions on the importance of data protection, recognizing phishing attempts, and safe internet practices can drastically reduce risk. You can use phishing simulation tools to test the knowledge and practice of your team alongside training sessions. An IT support provider can also offer local workshops focused on cybersecurity awareness and email protection solutions.

4. Regularly Update and Patch Systems

Cyber threats evolve rapidly, and so should your defenses. Regular updates to your software, including your operating system and applications, close security gaps that hackers exploit. For SMBs in our locality of Mahoning County, IT support services can manage these updates for you, saving time and ensuring they remain up-to-date with the latest patches and security fixes, ensuring your systems are always fortified against the latest threats.

5. Use Advanced Endpoint Protection

Endpoint (device) protection goes beyond traditional antivirus software. It encompasses anti-malware, email filtering, and intrusion prevention, among other security measures. Increasingly, endpoint protection solutions will be essential as cyber threats become more intelligent, scalable, and nuanced over the coming years.

For comprehensive protection, Ohio businesses should consult with IT support experts in Boardman or Youngstown to find the best endpoint protection solutions that can be tailored to their specific operational needs.

6. Back Up Your Data Regularly

In the unfortunate event of a data breach or ransomware attack, having up-to-date backups can be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged, costly downtime. Implement a robust backup strategy that includes regular backups stored both on-premises and in the cloud. You can create backups and store them using cloud-based or physical storage solutions. IT support services in Ohio can provide guidance on setting up and maintaining secure backups, ensuring your business’s resilience.

7. Secure Your Networks

With the rise of remote work, securing your network is more important than ever. Use firewalls, encrypt sensitive data, and secure Wi-Fi networks with strong passwords and encryption protocols.

For local businesses, seeking IT support in Mahoning County can help you to customize network security solutions to match your specific business environment and threats. This could include ensuring secure remote access for authorized devices, for example.

8. Partner with a Quality IT Support Provider

An IT support provider can make a game-changing difference to your business’s harnessing of its IT assets, as well as its data protection and cyber security posture. A great IT support provider can discover vulnerabilities, customize security measures around your business’s technology and operational needs, and make the process an easy one for you.

In this way, you can focus on what you do best: delighting your customers and growing your business, while resting easy in the knowledge that your business is backed by robust and scalable security measures that keep today’s cyber threats at bay.

We’re Cyber Express – Exceptional IT Support, Cybersecurity and Technology Solutions for Ohio Businesses

From our home in Boardman, Cyber Express provides IT support, technology management, cybersecurity services and class-leading solutions to businesses across Youngstown, Mahoning County, and the wider region. Our approach to IT support ensures our clients enjoy a proactive, friendly, and tailored service that addresses key challenges and delivers growth-enabling technology. Get in touch today to discuss your IT support or computer repair needs. Our friendly team can’t wait to take your call.