Data Security: Even The [stuffed] Zoo Animals Aren’t Secure

In recent data breach news, a Detroit zoo vendor is investigating a data security breach of its computerized cash registers in gift shops at nine zoos across the country. Authorities say credit and debit card numbers, cardholders’ names, expiration dates and three-digit CVV security codes were snagged by the hackers.

As consumers, we can only hope that the companies we interact with are taking care of our personal data. As a business owner, you don’t want to make the news for negative reasons. Here’s are 5 ways you can help minimize the damage and protect your data. Your users and your company’s stability will thank you!

Data Security Even The [stuffed] Zoo Animals Aren't Secure

1) Use your First Line of Defense 

That’s right, your end users need to hear how hackers are invading networks. They may know that they didn’t win a million dollars from somewhere in S. Africa, but most hackers can be trickier than that. Teach them how simply clicking an attachment or link in an email can wreak havoc for the network.  And educate them on what to look for in fraudulent messages that may or may not look professional but usually give away telltale signs of having malicious intent. Don’t assume your employees will use common sense or know the dangers of spam.

2) Filters really do Filter 

Your company should definitely use an email spam filter. Most garbage and unwanted messages should get caught up at that level of protection. And they do for the most part. But even so, hackers can craft messages that may still sneak through so that’s where your first line of defense, your employees, will be essential.

3) Encryption 

Not 100% assurance, but it does add a layer of protection that makes accessing your network a lot more difficult. And don’t go with encryption that is less than 128-bit for your network, that’s the bare minimum.

4) Anti-virus Software 

Another layer of protection comes from anti-virus and anti-malware programs. These come in handy when your users innocently find themselves clicking an ad or attachment they shouldn’t.  Stay on top of scanning your data and keeping the programs updated day to day. And I wouldn’t stop here. Adding other layers of protection from firewalls, honey pots and intrusion detection devices can make a huge difference in network security.

5) Proofread Everything

I bet your sales team wouldn’t send out promotional material before it had a good proofreading.  Same for those internal communications sent out from the HR department.   Do the same with your network.  Huh, you say? Seek out a third party to audit your network security. They may find a threat that was completely bypassed with your current network security setup.

If your company lacks the internal resources to keep your network security in check, seek the help from professionals that can assess your network and provide you with a safe and optimized system to keep your business up and running. Because the last thing you want is to be negatively reported on in the news, or losing clients because of lackluster network security.

Robert A. Martin is the President of Great Lakes Computer and has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Akron. He joined the company in 1995 and has held multiple positions including Large Account Sales, Sales Manager, VP of Operations, and now serves as President.

Although he oversees all operations, Bob’s primary focus is in the areas of sales development, strategic direction, government sales and large account management. Bob lives in Avon, Ohio, is married and the father of two, and is an avid outdoorsman. Bob is the author of the Great Lakes Tips on Tech Blog.