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Get Smart: Avoid Third-Party Data Breaches

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
Freelance Editor

After a series of high-profile data breaches – like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, or Under Armour and the MyFitnessPal application – business owners should turn their gaze back to cybersecurity. In truth, entrepreneurial vigilance around security never should have lapsed, but if it has, it's time to use these major failures to secure and resecure your business networks to ensure that your data and your customers' data are truly safe.

After the 2013 Target data breach and last year's massive WannaCry malware attack, many businesses ratcheted up their security and informed themselves on cybersecurity best practices. This is another opportunity for entrepreneurs to examine their operations again and shore up defenses.

Protecting your own network is one thing, but when it comes to third-party vendors who handle sensitive data on a daily basis, you have to be especially careful with who you trust. It's important to examine the security methods and track records of third-party vendors you work with. Here's a look at some common business solutions that have an immense ability to either help or hurt your company's data security.

Single sign-on solutions

Single sign-on (SSO) is a component of the identity and access management process that helps to verify user identity and ensure strong, complex, regularly updated passwords throughout an entire organization. One of the most vulnerable points of an organization is the human end users, who can be tricked to open doors to attackers even when network security is otherwise exceptional. SSO goes a long way to mitigate the risk of human error, as does regular staff training and reminders from the IT department.

While SSO aims to increase the efficiency and security of your organization, lost credentials mean data thieves can access all your applications with just a single login as well. That makes protecting your data even more important when it comes to SSOs. Partnering with a highly secure SSO solution, as well as ensuring your own organization's best practices, is crucial.

If you're interested in learning more about SSO, how it works and some of our favorite solutions, check out Business News Daily's best picks for single sign-on solutions.  

Document management software

Document management systems essentially serve as digital filing cabinets to organize all your digital and paper documents. These systems centralize your documents for easy search and access without the need for space-eating file cabinets or wasteful paper record-keeping systems. Document management systems are a huge part of the large-scale business migration to digital operations.

Document management software can either be self-hosted or hosted in the cloud, and either method comes with its own set of security risks. The self-hosted method means continuously monitoring your own network for threats and vulnerabilities, and mitigating those opportunities for breaches with a vigilant IT department and an educated staff. For cloud-based solutions, the onus is on your vendor partner to protect your data. Learning exactly how the vendor intends to do so is an essential component of your selection process.

To learn more about document management systems and what vendors can do to protect your data, visit Business News Daily's best picks for document management systems.

Cloud storage and online backup services

As more and more daily business activities rely on digital files and data, the threat of losing a device or corrupted data becomes more of a concern. To protect against this threat, many businesses have turned to cloud storage and online backup services. While these solutions are great for replacing important digital files, storing your data in the cloud also has a potential security risk.

For companies that can't back up all their files in their own cold-storage hard drive, it's important to partner with a cloud storage service that offers top-notch security features. You need to be able to trust that your data and your customers' data are secure when you leave them with an online backup service.

To find out more about cloud storage and online backup services, and which ones you can trust to really protect your data, check out Business News Daily's best picks for cloud storage solutions.

Credit card processing

The credit card processor you partner with has a lot to do with how secure your customers' data is. Even if your network is secure and insulated from an attack, you're trusting your credit card processor with your customers' data. To be sure your customers are safe, it's important to verify the security measures taken by your vendor partner.

When choosing a credit card processor, many entrepreneurs are reasonably interested in pricing. However, security measures are equally important, lest your customers' data be compromised. While it is the credit card processor's responsibility to protect data in transit, it's your responsibility to your customers to do your due diligence and choose a vendor with a strong security track record.

For more information on how to choose a secure credit card processing vendor, see Business News Daily's best picks for credit card processing companies

Image Credit: Can Be Done/Shutterstock
Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
Business News Daily Staff
Adam Uzialko is a writer and editor at business.com and Business News Daily. He has 7 years of professional experience with a focus on small businesses and startups. He has covered topics including digital marketing, SEO, business communications, and public policy. He has also written about emerging technologies and their intersection with business, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain.