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August 8, 2023

5 Basic Cybersecurity Moves to Make

# Data/IT

Safeguarding print business data in a digital minefield

What if your print business was the subject of a cyberattack? How might a data breach at one of your partners' sites affect your relationship with a key client? What steps can you take now to better protect your company?

In the age of cyber criminals, ransomware, malicious email attachments and 30,000 website hack a day , those questions matter more than ever. Data is being mined, used and tracked for all manner of marketing, mailings and financial transactions, so securing sensitive data - both your clients' and your own - against theft or loss is an important responsibility and an increasing liability.

Unfortunately, it's the darker side of data's increased role in our industry, and no matter the size of your business, it's important to know what's at stake and how you can mitigate risk.

"Anything you can build with data can also be torn down instantaneously with data," says Karl Heerdegen, Co-Founder of The Northstar Group, based in Lake Zurich, IL, USA. "If you're not protecting your clients' data, you're not protecting your clients' brand."

Data Security Is a Competitive Advantage

In addition to mitigating risk and ensuring business continuity, Karl realized that employing tough cyber security and data protection protocols could help to build trust with clients and give The Northstar Group a sales advantage.

"If I'm going to do a mailing of 100,000 pieces for my client, and I know there are two others competing for the business - and all things are the same - I know I can drive a wedge between other companies and myself simply by [asking the client], 'Has my competition offered to show you a certificate of their insurance so you're assured they are protected against data breach or cyber liability?' Karl says. "When I mention we've been underwritten by Lloyds of London … that's going to put them in a pause position to think about what they're doing and what exposure they may have."

Printers can take the five steps below to tighten up their data security, but internal controls are not enough. Relatively few printers have any type of cyber liability protection but absolutely should, he says. Here's a related story about how and why The Northstar Group stays protected with cybersecurity insurance.

Make These 5 Data-Protection Moves

Data security expert Christopher Byrne, Co-Founder of Sensorpro, an Ireland-based enterprise messaging and feedback platform, recommends these five simple security measures to shore up your cyber defenses:

1. Verify the 's' in https. On any website used for data transfers, be sure to use a secure site, noted by "https." If you use a file transfer protocol (FTP) site for file transfer, consider moving to an encrypted alternative, known as a Secure FTP (SSH file transfer protocol) site.

2. Protect against phishing with a Sender Protection Framework (SPF). Without SPF, bad actors can more easily send emails pretending to be from your company. An SPF controls who can use your domain name to send emails, allowing customers and suppliers to confidently open messages you send.

3. Deploy data-at-rest encryption. While organizations will often seek to secure data in transit using encrypted connections (for example, https/ssl/tsl/ftps), the data at rest often found on hard drives, laptops or flash drives must also be protected. If your data ever fell into the wrong hands, it would be useless without the correct key.

4. Never email data files as attachments. Email's ease of use lends itself to employees skipping basic security measures. If you don't have a secure FTP site, use a file sharing service such as Dropbox or Box.com for data file transfers.

5. Make two-factor authentication (2FA) a default. While requiring a second login step like a verification code sent to your phone or email may seem like an inconvenience, it's an effective way to add an additional layer of security for any online service used by your organization.

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