Safe Clients = Happy Clients September 20 2017 Protecting personal information has always been a daunting task for those that are concerned about cybersecurity. We constantly monitor our bank and credit card accounts, lock our financial documents and records in safe places, and change passwords frequently. But all of this could mean nothing if the companies who had our data are breached like Equifax. On July 29, Equifax discovered a breach in their systems, one that would lead to the leak of information on over 143 million Americans. Equifax, an organization that identifies and provides financial institutions with the risk level of consumers when borrowing money, houses some of the most personal and sensitive information available. This unprecedented breach has led to the release of Social Security Numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers and more. The Equifax breach and subsequent lawsuit is a stark reminder to review your cybersecurity practices and better protect the personal information within your organization’s systems. Here are five ways to make your business more cyber aware. Take Inventory: Understanding what personal information your organization has and where it’s stored is critical to protecting your data. Without taking inventory, you leave information exposed to attackers. Reduce The Type of Data Stored: Do you have a legitimate business need for all of the sensitive information that you store? If you don’t, don’t keep it. Unnecessary information within your organization will only lead to more problems if that information is compromised. Update Your Systems: Outdated systems were the culprit in both the Equifax breach and the WannaCry Ransomware attacks. Greatly reduce the risk of attacks by updating your systems against known vulnerabilities. Authentication: Controlling access to sensitive information through authentication is a security best-practice. Consider using Two-factor authentication, such as requiring the use of a password and a code sent by different methods for enhanced security. Employee Training: Your data security plan may look great in theory, but it’s only as strong as the employees who implement it. Take the time to explain security policies, and train employees to spot any security vulnerabilities, such as phishing attacks. Protecting the sensitive information of those you conduct business with should be one of the most important priorities of any organization. With cyberattacks on the rise, businesses that fail to comply will pay the price and so will their customers.