The number of data breach incidents seems to be growing dramatically with time. Yet, many businesses still do not have the right security measures to protect themselves from this threat.
What businesses fail to realize is that a data breach could potentially put the very existence of their business on the line. Moreover, data breaches aren’t just a threat to big organizations. While it is mostly the data breaches at big organizations that make the headlines, small or medium-sized businesses are just as much at risk of being affected by a data breach, if not more.
Small businesses often do not have sufficient data breach protection protocols, given their lack of technical knowledge and small cybersecurity budgets, which makes them more vulnerable to data breaches. Not just that, overcoming a data breach is much more challenging for a smaller business considering the hefty fines that need to get paid and the loss of business credibility.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent data breaches in your organization and protect your sensitive information. Let’s take a look at what a data breach is and why they happen.
WHAT IS A DATA BREACH?
A data breach involves unauthorized access to sensitive and confidential company information. The most common scenario is a cybercriminal gaining access to the company’s database and using it for their benefit. A data breach can involve gaining access to any sensitive information such as staff or customer records, financial information like credit card numbers, software codes, or trade secrets.
Data breaches happen for different reasons. Most data breaches are carried out by cybercriminals, who can get used for fraud, identity theft, or financial gains.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM A DATA BREACH?
Now that we know what a data breach it, let’s look at the various ways you can protect your business from it:
EFFECTIVE DATA MANAGEMENT AND BACKUPS
Effective data management and regular backups are a must if you wish to eliminate the risk of data loss. Any business can experience a cyberattack, server crash, natural disaster, or human error resulting in a loss of data. But by having the right data management systems in place, you will always have backups to replace any data lost. You can find several incredible data management products in the market designed for this purpose. They ensure all your data is backed up regularly and stored efficiently without holding any excessive, unnecessary data that will slow down your system’s performance. Apart from that, the organization’s backup and recovery processes should be monitored and tested at regular intervals to ensure they are working correctly.
ESTABLISH A CYBERSECURITY POLICY
Establishing a cybersecurity policy ensures that your whole team is evident on the company’s data protection rules and adheres to them. It also helps set clear guidelines for accountability. For instance, if the policy restricts the accessibility of business data to a few authorized personnel only, it can place the responsibility for protecting data security on those who have access to data. In turn, those employees are likely to practice greater caution when working with the data. A policy helps ensure every single employee takes data security seriously.
EDUCATE YOUR EMPLOYEES
If your employees are uninformed about data security or simply careless, you increase your chances of a data breach significantly. Human errors constitute one of the leading causes of data breaches. It is essential to educate your employees and provide training on data security measures to counter this threat. They need to be well-trained on things like safe internet browsing, correct usage of mobile devices, and setting of strong passwords. They also need to know how to identify a phishing email (i.e., a fraudulent email sent to trick the reader into providing sensitive information). A trained workforce will know how to protect business data.
LIMIT ACCESS TO SENSITIVE DATA
Your employees are the leading guardians of your data, but it is still best to restrict their access to sensitive company information according to their role in the company. It means every employee should only be able to access the information they need to fulfill their job role. For every hardware, software, app, and database, you can make a list of employees who require it and ensure no one else can use it. The more you restrict access to sensitive data, the safer it will be.
SEEK ADVICE FROM A CYBERSECURITY SPECIALIST
Most businesses do not have the technical knowledge in-house to come up with an active data security policy. That is why hiring a cybersecurity specialist can be a great decision. These professionals have the expertise and experience to identify the high-risk areas requiring urgent attention and can implement the right security measures according to the needs of your business. You could hire the services of a cybersecurity company if you don’t need a full-time employee. Make sure the person you hire is skilled and competent, as well as trustworthy.
INVEST IN SUITABLE CYBERSECURITY SOFTWARE
Not investing in cybersecurity software for your business is like leaving all the doors to your business open and inviting cyber attackers to come and access your confidential information. For starters, endpoint protection is a must for any business. An endpoint protection software blocks access to all unsecured web pages, preventing users from providing company information to unreliable sources.
It works by protecting all endpoints such as desktops, servers, smartphones, laptops, and other devices. Furthermore, edge protection software is also necessary as it uses spam filters, web filters, and firewalls to block malicious emails or websites from getting access to your system. Even if malicious data gets inside, the software immediately informs you and disables it. When used together, both edge protection and endpoint software provide a simple, cost-effective way to ensure data security.
In the ever-changing modern world, we live in, the cyber threats faced by businesses are continually evolving, making it impossible for any company to eliminate the risk of the data breach. However, you may reduce the risk to a large degree by implementing the above tips and protecting yourself from incidents that could be detrimental to your business’s success.