The Entrepreneur's Guide to Safeguarding Sensitive Data

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Safeguarding Sensitive Data

Navigating the digital landscape of today's world invariably brings us face-to-face with the critical issue of cybersecurity. Without fail, our daily headlines are saturated with cautionary tales, from the compromise of sensitive personal data through identity theft to the troubling uptick in comprehensive corporate data violations.

Engagement in modern society almost inevitably entails a certain level of exposure to these digital dangers. Despite the risks, involvement in the advancing technological space is essential.

For entrepreneurs and business leaders, the subject of cybersecurity takes on an additional layer of urgency. There's more at stake than just financial stability; the well-being of employees, the integrity of customer data, and the overall reputation of their brand hang in the balance. Balancing an open digital presence with stringent security measures is no minor feat for today's businesses.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, often referred to as IT security, encompasses the robust techniques and strategies deployed to safeguard computer systems, networks, and digital data from unapproved entry, theft, or harmful cyber threats. Predominantly, these digital assaults are designed to compromise system integrity, pilfer data, extort financial gain, or perpetrate other internet-based illicit activities including fraud.

Most Common Cyber Attacks

Malware: The Insidious Digital Threat 

Malware, a contraction for "malicious software," encompasses various harmful programs that can infiltrate computers and networks, leading to data loss, corruption, or theft. Typically, malware makes its way onto a system when an unsuspecting user opens a contaminated email attachment or clicks on a deceptive link.

Ransomware: Cyber Extortion on the Rise 

Imagine your data held captive and a ransom demanded for its release—this is the harsh reality of ransomware, a nefarious subset of malware. Cybercriminals use this tactic to encrypt a victim's files, effectively locking them out until a ransom is paid. With a ransomware attack projected every 11 seconds by 2021, awareness and prevention are more critical than ever.

Phishing Scams: A Cloak of Deceit 

Phishing is a digital con where attackers mask themselves as trustworthy entities via email to pilfer sensitive personal information or to cunningly install malware on your system. This form of attack is on the uptick, with phishers constantly refining their deceptive techniques.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack: Digital Eavesdropping Exposed 

This cyber assault occurs when a hacker secretly relays or alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly in touch with each other. These attacks are especially prevalent on unprotected public WiFi networks, where hackers can effortlessly intercept valuable personal details.

DDoS Attacks: Overloading Systems to Paralysis 

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is akin to thrusting a website or online service into gridlock by flooding its network with a barrage of illegitimate traffic. These assaults can be diverse in their makeup but share the common goal of barring legitimate users from accessing an online service. The aftermath can be severe, stretching from financial losses to extensive disruption of business operations.

The Menace of SQL Injection: Database Under Siege 

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the bedrock of database communication. An SQL injection strikes when a hacker stealthily slips malicious code into a database-driven server to extract confidential data, such as customer information—posing an enormous risk to data integrity.

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Entrepreneurs

1. Use a VPN

When we talk about cybersecurity for entrepreneurs, the first thing that comes to mind is VPN. Moreover, today there are VPN apps for all popular platforms. When you use a VPN for Mac, you can prevent almost all of the cyber threats listed above. As long as you have a reliable Macbook Pro VPN like VeePN, you can protect yourself from DDoS attacks, MitM, viruses and malware. In addition to security in business, VPN provides privacy and anonymity, which is no less important when working with confidential data.

2. Strong Password Setup

To safeguard against cyber threats, it's imperative to establish robust passwords. We advise that you create a secure and distinctive password for each application you use; this practice is crucial for enhancing your digital security. Moreover, it is important to create not only a strong password, but also a unique one for each website and application. For example, if you use a virtual assistant and set a weak or identical password to access it, your data, queries, etc. may be leaked. Reliability and uniqueness are the 2 main rules for creating passwords.

3. Use Multifactor Authentication

Passwords aside, adopting multifactor authentication is essential. This additional security measure is significantly effective. Microsoft's research reveals that accounts are 99.9% less likely to face breaches with the use of multifactor authentication.

4. Employee Education

Studies indicate that the primary culprit behind security breaches is, more often than not, user error. To mitigate risks, it's essential to adhere to certain best practices. Individuals must refrain from engaging with unfamiliar email attachments and unknown URLs, ensure their personal devices are secure in public areas, and avoid the use of passwords that are simplistic and easily decipherable. These precautions foster a safer digital environment for everyone.

5. Accessing Management

The zero trust principle champions the judicious application of the "least privilege" approach. By this method, employee access to the company's data and systems is meticulously calibrated to what's strictly necessary for their roles. This strategic measure significantly mitigates the potential havoc that can result from compromised accounts.

6. Data Backup

To safeguard your essential data effectively, it's imperative to employ a comprehensive strategy. It's advisable to maintain backups of crucial data across several locations, providing a safety net should you fall prey to a cyber incident, ensuring that no single event results in total data loss.

7. Encrypt Information

Companies that handle sensitive customer details like credit card numbers and banking information must take information security seriously. A solid encryption strategy is key – it safeguards your data by transforming it into complex codes that are almost impossible to crack.

Think of encryption as a vital contingency plan. In the unfortunate event of a data breach, encrypted data remains secure because without the decryption keys, it's just gibberish to cyber thieves.

8. Use Password Managers

A password manager alleviates the hassle of recalling an extensive list of passwords by securely housing them for you. When accessing websites or applications, this system effortlessly retrieves the appropriate usernames, passwords, and even answers to security questions. This streamlined approach ensures that employees need only commit to memory one primary PIN or master password to unlock their repository of login particulars. Furthermore, password managers aid in promoting cyber hygiene by discouraging the utilization of weak or duplicated passwords and prompting routine updates for enhanced security practices.


Business success has many components. The main one is a wise owner with a high entrepreneurial spirit. But even so, it is only a matter of time before a business becomes the target of a hacker attack. It must survive, and this can be done if you adhere to the listed principles and strategies. Without proper cybersecurity measures, it is impossible to expect sustainable business success in the long term.

Alex Quin

Entrepreneur. Podcaster. Go-Getter.

Alex Quin is a full-stack marketing expert and global keynote speaker. Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of UADV Marketing - a member of the Forbes Agency Council.

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