With so much of the world's data being digitized, adequate security is essential to protect the information you obtain from your clients, customers, and vendors. Whether it is payment information, social security numbers, or log-in information, you can open yourself up to litigation if you fail to adequately protect your data system against a breach. Regardless of the industry you work in, data security should be a priority. If you are trying to strengthen the security of your business's data systems, you may be wondering exactly how much security you will need. Here are several industry standards to help you get started.
Storing Payment Data
Retail and service companies need to accept some sort of payment for products and services. If you own a business where you accept payment, you'll want to review security standards for accepting payment. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is one of the main standards that you'll work with. The PCI DSS is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures to improve the security of payment card transactions. PCI DSS goes over network security, data storage security, avoidance of malicious users, levels of access permissions, and the security of networks. You can make your business data systems more secure by following the policies laid down in PCI DSS.
Storing Customer Information
Customer information may not be solely payment-related; if you work in the medical or legal field, you may have access to legally classified information that needs to remain secure. In these cases, a reasonable effort at protecting your clients’ data may include encrypting your computer and files. In addition, if you need to access a confidential file, consider avoiding the use of public wireless connections at coffee shops or hotel rooms. You can also use a virtual private network (VPN) that creates a more secure connection.
If your line of work involves being a contractor or subcontractor for the government, you'll need to comply with government data security policies. For example, if you are a contractor for the Department of Defense, you'll need to comply with DFARS, which is a long and complicated list of policies and procedures to maintain a secure data system. In January 2019, a top DoD official released a memo directing the agency to crack down on contractors whose data systems were not in compliance. The penalty for non-compliance can be severe. Your current contract can be taken away and your business may be barred from any other future contracts with the DoD.
As society transitions to a digital age, cybersecurity will become more of an issue than ever before. It is important to stay up to date with the security practices of your industry to protect yourself as well as your clients, customers, and vendors.
Protection for your business and your data systems are critical. One way of protection may include getting the law more involved. Click here to find out if hiring a lawyer for your business is a good choice for you.