Data Privacy Day may have past us by (January 28th) but, the internationally celebrated day is dedicated to spreading awareness about how and why you should prioritize making sure your data–and others’—is safe. It sounds like a tall order, but keeping your data safe isn’t all that difficult. Implementing these strategies will get you well on your way to being more #PrivacyAware:

Lock Up Your Login

You lock your front door before you leave your house and you should do the same for your data. Having strong, unique passwords is key to keeping your data and your customers’ data safe. Keeping track of 16-character passwords that require a lower-case letter, upper case letter, 2 numbers, a special symbol, and the blood of your firstborn is no easy task. That’s why people often make passwords that are too easy and guessable by hackers. Or all of their passwords are the same. If someone gets the password for your email account what else does that give them access to? Password security is so important to keep your data safe! But we get it, so try an app like LastPass. It does the hard work for you and keeps track of hundreds of strong, unique passwords without breaking the bank. The app is free and allows you to sync an unlimited number of passwords across your devices. This simple browser extension could make the difference in keeping your data and your customers’ data safe.

Don’t Wait to Update

Performing regular updates on antivirus and computer software can help keep your data safe. New viruses and malicious software are popping up and evolving all the time. Anti-virus software companies do a pretty good job of updating their software, but without installing the updates, you’ve essentially rendered it ineffective. To ensure you and your team aren’t putting off installing important updates, schedule a time to do office-wide updates. Get together in the conference room or take the team out for coffee while the updates work their data protecting magic.

Build a #PrivacyAware Culture

Your team should know that cybersecurity and data protection are the responsibility of all employees, not just your IT team. Communicate to your team just how important it is to protect your customers’, as well as their own, data. If your team knows you take keeping data safe seriously, they will be more likely to take it seriously as well. Make expectations clear and hold employees accountable, conduct regular training, and set the example by doing simple things like:

  • Logging off of your computer when you walk away
  • Storing sensitive information in a secure location
  • Shredding documents with personal data
  • Making it easy for employees to report a lost device or known data breach

Know Where Your Data Is

Most businesses store their data all over the place. Some may not even know of every device or location important company data is stored on. Data can be stored in places such as the cloud, external hard drives, or employee computers, laptops, or smartphones. If you don’t know all of the places your data could be stored, it’s time to take an inventory. That way, if you do experience a data breach, you can more easily locate the vulnerability and keep the rest of your data safe.

Employee Data

Not only do you have a responsibility to keep your data safe and your customers’ data safe, but you also have a responsibility to keep your employees’ data safe. Because the data you have stored on your employees, such as their social security number and payroll and banking information is so sensitive, a breach of that data could be catastrophic. Protect employee information by:

  • Keeping employee documents and files stored in a secure location
  • Limiting access only to employee information to only those who have a need to know
  • Encouraging employees to routinely monitor their credit reports for suspicious activity