Data protection can reduce the risk of cyber-attacks that can impact your business or personal reputation. It’s important to understand the best practices to protect your sensitive information and follow these guidelines. A breach of your personal information could lead to lawsuits and fines that could have long-term consequences for you or your business.

Secure all devices and files with the use of a password. This simple step can protect you from hackers gaining access to your information. Use strong passwords with complex combinations of numbers, letters and symbols. Change default passwords provided by vendors to more secure ones whenever you can. Make sure you update your antivirus software regularly and conduct a security test on your computer and servers.

Do not send personal information that is confidential or personally identifiable via email. This includes Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers passwords, etc. Email is not secure, and can be accessed.

Make sure your network and data are secure. Ensure that your laptops, computers and portable storage devices are secured by using strong encryption when transferring information to third parties and to safeguard the information stored on these devices. It is also vital to prepare a plan to react to a cyber-attack which includes who you’ll be notified and what you’ll do (e.g. employees customers, credit bureaus, etc.).

Ensure you have a backup of all your data Keep offline copies of your most important data in different locations from where your primary copies are stored. This can stop attackers from gaining access to your primary copies or deleting them.