Just before the Grammy Awards, Iggy Azalea criticized Papa John's Pizza over Twitter for leaking her personal cell phone number, resulting in her receiving a number of unsolicited texts from fans.
The superstar rapper used her phone to order a pizza earlier in the day, and the delivery person working at Papa John's gave her number out to his family members. Papa John's apparently responded to the rapper's complaints saying that the delivery person who made the leak would report to them about the incident.
Although this is a minor breach in security, it's important for companies to consider that data breaches can occur not only through sophisticated hacks but also through employee negligence. It's crucial for businesses to educate their employees on the importance of keeping transactional information private and secure, or else you run the risk of experiencing an embarrassing incident.
Go over the following things with your employees to make sure they're using the best security practices:
- Be careful with remote access: If your employees have remote access privileges, ask them to use these capabilities extremely cautiously. For instance, never access a work account using a public WiFi network, and don't sign in to your work email unless you know your connection is secure.
- Create strong passwords: Encourage your employees to make passwords that are longer than eight characters and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Their passwords should also be randomized, rather than being based on personal information such as a pet's name or the person's birthday. Tell your employees to change their passwords frequently and to never write them down or disclose them to family, friends or coworkers.
- Don't click on links: Warn your employees about the phishing tactics of cyber-criminals, and tell them to erase suspicious-looking messages from their work inboxes and to never click on links in emails. These links could download payment card-stealing malware into the point of sale system. It's also a good idea as a manager to make sure your employee's work devices are equipped with the latest anti-viral and firewall software to protect them from threats.
- creating a password is merely a formality, but it's important to communicate that they are your company's first line of defense against a data breach.
- Keep your device clean: Make it clear what files employees are allowed to download and install on their work computers. Installing unknown material could open your entire system up to vulnerabilities.
- Speak up: Talk to your employees about the importance of keeping an eye on their devices and communicating with you immediately if they notice anything strange. Early detection is one of the best defenses against an intrusion, so tell employees that what they report could save your business a lot of trouble and money.
Your employees are the core part of your security team, so make sure they understand how important their role is in protecting your business from a costly and damaging data breach. Yes, hackers are often very sophisticated and can break into even the strongest systems. However, most of the time breaches come about as the result of smaller vulnerabilities that slip through the cracks unnoticed. Prevent tiny mistakes from happening by making your workers aware of their responsibilities.
Take this time as well to upgrade your credit card processor, so you know your employees are working with the most secure and advanced technology possible. They'll appreciate the streamlined interface, and you'll appreciate the peace of mind it gives you.