If you own a small to medium business, you may not put much thought into data protection and cybersecurity until after you become a victim of an attack. What’s worse than the theft is the aftermath – a security breach can cost you thousands if not millions of dollars to clean up! 

And that’s before the legal fees and lawyers you’ll need to pay if your customer data was leaked. There have been countless cases of companies like yours who are held liable when a cybercriminal hacks them and steals data. 

For instance, Equifax lost $425 million when 147 million customer details were compromised in a hack. After losing so much money, they lost even more when the incident hit the news, and many of their US consumers decided Equifax wasn’t trustworthy.

Once your data has been compromised, the only thing you can do is respond quickly and appropriately. That’s why it’s critical that your data protection is strong and all vulnerabilities have been found and fixed.

IT technician with servers ensuring data protection

Prevention is Crucial

Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission wrote a solid plan for businesses to follow after an attack. After you secure your operations with a team of experts, you’ll need to correct the weaknesses in your security.

But if you put a tenth of that effort into an IT management team with cybersecurity expertise, you can avoid that mess altogether. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

If you have enough data protection before your business is targeted, your security will deflect a hacker’s attempts and keep your data safe.

Penetration Testing (PEN Test)

Finding vulnerabilities before hackers do is best practice. Areas of exposure can be corrected and documented, showing a proactive stance on cybersecurity. PEN testing is when a third party like IGTech365 uses software and techniques to uncover your vulnerabilities. 

This may include testing your employees to see who will click a disguised link. PEN testing is like a final exam for your cybersecurity program. It is sometimes required by insurance companies, and it may result in a premium discount if done annually. 

What is Data Protection?

Data protection, also known as data security, has to do with how your sensitive information is collected, stored, and used. It prevents data corruption and unwelcome access. 

How strong is your protection? Well, that depends on several variables, including but not limited to:

  • Who has access to the data
  • Where the data is stored
  • How the data is stored

Any personal information, especially about your customers and staff, should not be easily accessible to others. There are a number of premium software programs that are specifically built to keep that information protected.

When you hire an expert in data security, they will implement a number of methods to keep your information safe:

  • Security Software
  • Encryption
  • Permissions
  • Authentication
  • Certificates
  • Penetration Testing

IT professionals will protect all the data in your medium to small business by limiting who can access it and how it is accessed. When this is done well, it completely prevents a hacker or malicious software from reaching the information.

data protection - keyboard with padlock

Data Protection Laws

As we mentioned before, when your company’s data is compromised, you will be found liable if personal information has been stolen. Let’s go over some of those laws.

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect in 2020. The measure gives Californians more control over their personal data. 

This allows Californians to ask firms how they store their personal data. If they don’t like the answer, customers can request that a business delete their data, and the company must comply.

If you are a small to medium business, you may be in luck. The CCPA only applies to companies that make $25 million in yearly revenue serving California citizens or those who have 50,000 customers or more.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was developed in an effort to improve data security and reduce online debit and credit card fraud. 

Any business that handles cardholder data (including receipt, storage, transmission, and processing) must adhere to the PCI Data Security Standard. Although it is not a federal law (yet), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has been adopted as state law in some parts of America, including Massachusetts.

In the future, it’s likely that more states will categorize credit card information as personal information and punish negligence in data security. 

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

HIPAA requires health and wellness organizations to secure consumers’ sensitive health data. It specifies how organizations should develop, maintain, and communicate electronic health information (ePHI).

ePHI includes a patient’s:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Birthday
  • Health history dates
  • Numbers
  • Email
  • MR number
  • SSN
  • Account numbers
  • Fingerprint biometrics
  • Photos
  • Identifiers

HIPAA violations include civil and criminal penalties. When it comes to medical treatment, both patient confidentiality and easy access to medical records are paramount. 

The health information of your client is extremely private, and the IT team at IGTech respects that. The healthcare industry is a prime target for cybercriminals, and you need to be prepared. By automating the creation of HIPAA-required reporting, we have removed the human error formerly associated with HIPAA compliance-as-a-service. 

In order to identify network faults, policy flaws, and possible breaches linked to HIPAA, our solution will look at the findings of forms and spreadsheets and compare them to data from our automated scanning. For more information, see our Healthcare Managed IT page.

Does Your Business Need Better Data Protection?

In many cases, the owners of small and medium-sized companies don’t pay any thought to data protection and cybersecurity until after their business has been compromised. Unfortunately, being hacked can destroy a company! 

But there is something you can do about it right now. A security breach is so much more expensive than the steps you can take to prevent one. By hiring experts to protect your valuable information, you’ll secure your success and reputation. Contact IGTech today to find out how.