Tips for Data Protection this Holiday Season

Tips for Data Protection this Holiday Season

With the holidays fast approaching, Connecticut businesses catering to big holiday rush sales are rushing to launch seasonal promotions to attract customers. However, business owners must also be on the lookout for cybercriminals who plan to take advantage of this festive season.

Why Data Breaches Spike During the Holidays

Because of the high volume of online shoppers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and consumers tend to lower their guard, making them enticing targets for a data breach. According to a Carbon Black report, data breaches during the holiday season have soared an alarming 57.5 percent in the past couple of years. 

Online shopping is one of the biggest factors contributing to the rise in data breaches during the holiday season. Not only do more people shop online during this time, but they also use vulnerable devices to do so. Furthermore, SMBs have insufficient or no in-house IT staff to keep their company and customers’  data safe from cybercriminals.

Data Protection Best Practices for Your Business

Every business is susceptible to a data breach this holiday season. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your risk of a cyberattack by following these data protection tips.


  1. Regularly update your operating system (OS) and software

Outdated OS and software are more prone to a data breach because they contain security bugs hackers can exploit. Regularly updating your organization’s software and OS and the devices connected to it with the latest security patches can effectively mitigate a data breach. If you want to make sure your company’s software is always updated, ask your IT staff or managed IT services provider (MSP) to enable automatic software updates on your computer. This allows your devices to download updated software patches as soon as they are released.

  1. Backup your company’s important data

If your company is hit by a data breach, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to recover your valuable information. Regularly backing up your critical data reduces the risk of downtime and allows your organization to quickly recover after a major data breach. When backing up your data, be sure to follow the 3-2-1 rule.

  • Have at least three copies of your data. This is to ensure that in case one copy becomes unusable or is lost, you’ll still have a backup of your backup.
  • Store your backups in two different storage devices, such as a cloud-based storage solution or removable storage media such as external hard drives. Note that the hard drives where your data is backed up must be disconnected from your network when not performing backup operations. This reduces the risk of malware infecting your removable storage media.
  • Always keep a copy of your backup off-site or in a different location from your other backups. This ensures you have a safe set of backups in case the original ones are lost or destroyed. Make it a point to have your IT team perform data backups regularly. Also test your backups to ensure your data has been properly saved. 
  1. Install antivirus software

Every computer and device used in your business operations must have antivirus software installed. Antivirus software will scan, detect, and eliminate any form of malware from computers and mobile devices. Make sure to update your antivirus software regularly to ensure it can detect and protect your data from new forms of malware.

  1. Secure your Wi-Fi network

If your company is using a wireless network, make sure that it’s protected by Service Set Identifier (SSID) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). This will prevent hackers looking to spy or steal your information from infiltrating your wireless network.

  1. Implement password best practices

Encourage your employees to change their passwords regularly using long and unique passwords that are easy to remember but difficult to guess. Your employees should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and services. Using password managers like Dashlane, Bitwarden, and LastPass can help your employees manage all their credentials so they won’t have problems remembering all of them.

  1. Use multifactor authentication (MFA)

Enabling MFA on your network and all the services you use adds an extra layer of protection to keep your data safe. MFA requires users to provide additional authentication details in addition to a password. This may include a one-time authentication code, a fingerprint, or a face scan. By implementing MFA, hackers won’t be able to use compromised credentials because they don’t have the additional authentication factors needed to gain access to your system.

  1. Train your employees

Hackers often succeed in infiltrating computer systems because of human error and employee negligence. This is why staff must be regularly trained on how to observe cybersecurity best practices. The training sessions should cover signs of a potential data breach and the different methods cybercriminals use to launch them.

Follow these data protection tips to keep your company’s data safe from cybercriminals this holiday season. And if you want a better way to safeguard your organization's vital information, partner with a trusted MSP like Charles IT. We’ve been keeping businesses in Connecticut safe from evolving cyberthreats. If you want to have peace of mind this season, call us today for an instant quote!

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