In the modern world, there are few things show the dangerous balance between being very powerful yet poorly understood as the massive amount of data that we collect and produce. While the average consumer may not fully understand or care about their data footprint, it is absolutely vital that companies understand both how to protect, and how to understand the data that the produce and collect. Information is power, and if you are not willing to make use of it, someone else will be. Safeguarding your data is essential for staying ahead of the competition, optimizing your business model, and avoiding legal or PR trouble.
Many smaller business do not put nearly enough emphasis on security. This is often seen in startups, where emphasis is placed on creating features and bringing in funding, and products are often attempted to be shipped in a state that focuses more on presentation and initial impression than long term viability. However, a poorly designed product is only the tip of the iceberg. The computers and systems which are used to conduct day to day business are often the most vulnerable and potentially devastating weakness in a modern business.
The computers are where we conduct most of our work, store all of our information, and have all of our trade secrets. One of the areas that is sometimes overlooked is the holding of customer information. Potentially one of the worst-case scenarios for a business is if their system with customer information is compromised. This can be devastating if it is revealed that customer information has been lost to malicious hackers. Clients will be angry if they realize that personal information is lost. If the information is used to hurt the client, there could be legal and financial repercussions. Finally, a public failure such as this demonstrates to customers that you are incompetent and do not take proper precautions to pay attention to detail.
The best way to ensure that your data does not become compromised is to take proper precautions. It is important that all of your systems and employees are able to fend off malware. Additionally, if malware ever does infect one of your systems, it must be completely removed to decrease the risk of a data breach. Malware spreads, and if it is not completely removed by a professional, you are at great risk of any future data created being put into the hands of the creators of the malware.