Got Encryption? You probably remember those “Got Milk?” ads where models and celebrities wear a milk mustache in magazines and TV commercials. The whole point of the campaign was to encourage consumers to drink milk. Milk is packed with vitamins and nutrients, but even with all of its amazing benefits, it is not necessarily essential to one’s diet. You could find similar nutrients in other foods and many adults do.
You may be wondering what milk has to do with encryption for small business. Encryption is not necessarily a key factor for your business to thrive. In fact, many businesses are functioning without it, and find it difficult to justify the expense and effort.
However, encryption adds an essential layer of protection for your client’s data as well as your own, and is becoming very important when creating a security plan for your business.
What is Encryption and Why is it Important Today?
Data encryption is the changing of electronic information into unreadable data by using algorithms and ciphers. In order to access your data you will need to provide a password, key phrase, or a physical device that plugs into your computer.
Encryption services are becoming more important today due to the rise of cybercrime and the amount of sensitive data we store on technology. Governing bodies like HIPAA and FINRA require some industries to encrypt hard drives and email, and many major corporations are making encryption standard in their security policies.
So why is encryption important for your SMB? Cyber criminals are using data as currency and will take advantage of any weak spots in your technical security, big or small (Click here for more info on cyber threats and SMB’s). Gone are the days that technical breaches only affect large corporations. Our team is seeing a greater number of local businesses affected by malware and viruses. We also encounter clients whose devices are stolen or lost and contain sensitive or valuable data. The loss of this exposed data can cripple a business exposing it to unwanted liability, possible fines, and a negative reputation.
New technology allows SMB owners some of the same products corporations use to encrypt their data making data protection solutions affordable and within reach.
Email is the most popular form of communication for most businesses today. It is vital that email systems are secure as it is becoming a primary source of attack by cyber criminals. At TechSeven, we encourage our clients to utilize some type of encryption for their primary emails. There are several brands of encryption services that will allow you to send secure email with ease, and most email services integrate with Microsoft Outlook.
Have you ever lost your laptop or cell phone or had it stolen? If so, you know the horrors of losing your documents, pictures, and other valuable data. We’ve discussed how we can protect ourselves from stolen data, but what about stolen hardware like phones, tablets, or laptops that contains sensitive data?
“But I have a password on my mobile devices. Isn’t that enough protection from theft?”
Passwords are important, but only offer a minimal layer of protection. They can easily be hacked by someone who knows what they are doing.
Encrypting your hard drive will make it very difficult for anyone to steal data and also make it recoverable if stolen. Disk encryption software and hardware makes protecting devices easy and has become an affordable option for SMB’s.
In spite of all the security products now available to SMB’s, we must always stress that encryption and other security solutions do not guarantee you will never be a victim of cybercrime or suffer from lost data. It is a much needed line of defense, but must be coupled with a security plan and “best practices” for staff who have access to technology and data (Click here for a great article on additional encryption strategies).
For more information about encryption or other security measures, please contact the team at TechSeven.