Farm data security tips

December 8, 2020
Data security expert, Sarah Engstrom, shares best practices for protecting your business data from attack.

The risk of online fraud is an unfortunate reality of doing business. Farming is no exception. While data security can seem like complex or intimidating, ignoring the possibility of a personal or business data breach only increases your risk. Sarah Engstrom, a data security expert at CHS, offers three simple tips for protecting your business and personal data.

Take a hard look at email. Email is the primary method for data attacks, so it’s important you, your employees and your family members take a critical look at every email you receive. Think twice before clicking on links or attachments, especially when there is a request to change payment method. Does the sender’s email address look legitimate? Did you expect this email? Does it make sense? Answering “no” to any of those questions should make you suspicious.

Update device software. Cyber criminals frequently change tactics used to access data. As new threats emerge, companies update software to keep your information safe, but software updates only work when you download and install them. Make it a habit to watch for and install updates when available from trusted sources.

Examine your vendors. Everything that touches your data — from Wi-Fi providers to video surveillance devices — is a potential access point for cyber criminals. Only work with vendors you trust and that take data security seriously. When selecting a new vendor, request referrals to learn how other customers were treated. And always ask questions about the steps a vendor will take to protect your data. Be curious and remember there are no dumb questions.