As long as businesses continue to rely on the internet and digital technology for data storage and communication, there is going to be some risk of those systems being compromised and sensitive data being compromised. These technologies certainly aren’t going anywhere, so the onus is on business owners to do everything in their power to protect their business against these potential breaches and to keep confidential information just that—confidential.

Here are some of the steps you can take as a business owner to safeguard your private data.

  • Establish a culture of care: You must make digital security a priority in your company, and that means spreading awareness of how data breaches happen and where you might be most vulnerable. If you’re able to get your employees involved in protecting your company’s information and empower them with the tools and knowledge needed to keep that information secure, you’ll be much better off for it. Educate all your employees in the steps they can take as individuals to increase data security, such as strengthening passwords, avoiding the use of private email accounts and how to report potential threats to security.
  • Enforce strict data permissions: You should keep vital information on a “need to know” basis in your company. Only provide access to that information to people who absolutely need it for their jobs. Otherwise, the more people who have access, the easier it becomes for that data to be compromised.
  • Encrypt your data: Any sensitive information should be protected where you store it. You should use various methods of encryption to store that data as securely as possible. Text scrambling is one popular means of encryption, but there are plenty of other security methods you can use to protect your digital files and folders and even physical drives.
  • Build up your firewall: A strong firewall is one of the most important layers of protection for any network, as it prevents unauthorized access to your network and helps keep malicious software and attackers at bay. If your firewall detects programs or computers attempting to gain access to your network, it has the power to block or allow access based on the rules you’ve set for it. This means that once you’ve implemented your firewall, you must also make sure you keep up with regular updates and maintenance to ensure it will continue to be effective.
  • Strengthen login protocols: Basic password authentication is not going to do much to keep hackers away from your sensitive data. You might consider using biometrics, one-time codes, security keys or multi-factor authentication for certain types of files and systems.
  • Work with a professional: Most business owners simply do not have the knowledge or training to take full charge of their company’s digital security. If you do not have the resources to employ a full-time IT and digital security person, you should at least work with a third-party resource to manage your digital security for you as needed.

For more tips about how you can protect your business against data breaches and the steps you should take if your company does fall victim to malicious attacks on your network, contact a business attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney of BoltNagi PC, a full-service business law firm on St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands.