Irrespective of the level of a data breach, it can cause immense damage to your business reputation. This is regardless of how insignificant it might seem to be. It can cause huge financial losses and, in some cases, legal action. Customer confidence may get eroded, and lose trust in your organization. A data breach happens when cybercriminal access data sources. They may extract sensitive information, compromise IT systems, or steal money. Organizations record approximately 2,200 cyberattacks daily. Cost due to breaches increased from $3.86 million in 2020 to $4.24 million in 2022. Your organization should take data breach protection seriously. The following steps will help keep your data safe from breaches.
Common causes of data breaches
Cybercriminals access your company data sources due to system vulnerabilities. They look for a weak point and take full advantage of it. Weaknesses in your IT systems and data center infrastructure can be due to various reasons.
Software misconfiguration leaves your data exposed. Your IT team may fail to implement proper software security settings. They may implement it with errors and thus expose your data to compromise. The wrong settings may occur in CRM, word processors, and billing systems. Database software and asset management apps can also be misconfigured.
Your employees may click on a malicious link or open an infected document. They may fail to protect passwords or update them. Some of them can use unauthorized devices to access your company network.
Use of malicious software
Cybercriminals trick users into opening malware or phishing applications. Once opened, they infect your company network and compromise data. This is one of the leading causes of data breaches in organizations today. Organizations recorded approximately 236.1 million malware attacks in 2022.
Insider threats involve employees who provide unauthorized access to your data. They can either do it knowingly or without knowledge. Your employees must know the seriousness of data breaches. You need to create awareness among your workforce. It helps you prevent data breaches and reputation risks. You need to educate them about data breach protection and train them to keep their devices cyber secure. Provide them with more ideas for detecting malware and viruses, especially browser-related risks, as internet surfing is the most common thing people do online. They should know how to remove threats from browsers and software.
Data breach protection steps
Keep your data generation sources in the control
Your business has multiple sources from which data is generated. This data builds in volume quickly, but not all of it is important. Some of it could be duplicates or without analytical value to your business. Still, some of the data might contain malicious links and files. Implement data generation controls to avoid storing data that has no value.
Filter out duplicated or suspicious data and remove it from your data stores. An employee may erroneously access such information and open it. The consequences to your organization can be devastating. Critical business data should be stored separately. This includes shipping information, billing, marketing, employee data, etc.
Provide cybersecurity training to employees
Research shows 88% of cybersecurity incidents occur due to employee mistakes. If they are properly trained, data breaches can be reduced by close to 90%. Cybersecurity in the remote work environment is a major concern to most employers. Remote workers connect to the company system using personal devices. Many of them are not aware that they caused errors. Take note of key training areas:
- Start by creating awareness about the seriousness of the issue. They need to understand what data breaches are and their impact.
- Train them on how to detect phishing and socially engineered attacks
- Have robust cybersecurity policies and procedures in place
- Create rules for the use of emails, devices, and browsers
- Limit access permissions where necessary
- Part of the team member onboarding process should involve cybersecurity training.
- Get your team to use the company’s VPN for PC to increase security.
Be consistent in conducting cybersecurity audits
Cybersecurity audits help your business understand its resilience to cyberattacks. It takes notice of online security weak points. Through audits, it is easy to know if there has been a recent breach. The basics of cybersecurity demand proper procedures to be followed. This will ensure effective cybersecurity audits are conducted.
Define the scope
Online security audits require a 3600 in-depth analysis of your security strengths. The scope should focus on every important area through which attacks may occur. You need to do an audit on each of the following components.
- Data stores security
- Network security
- Physical security
- Operational security
Conduct external and internal audits
External audits focus on every security protocol in your organization. It helps detect flaws in your company’s cybersecurity management. Internal audits focus on streamlining information flow between departments.
Provide necessary resources
Cybersecurity audits require tools, money, and experts. Make sure you have the right professionals to do the work. Provide them with everything that they need.
Define your timelines
Cybersecurity audits involve a deep analysis of flaws in the network structure. The team must audit the relevant compliance standards. They need to detect vulnerabilities and keep a record. Define the timelines within which the audit must be completed.
Once your audit team has generated a report, discuss necessary actions. Create a priority list that your team needs to follow for prevention.
Use cloud and data breach protection tools
Cloud and data breach protection tools help keep enterprise physical and digital assets safe. They protect the enterprise’s virtual machines, containers, cloud storage, virtual data rooms, serverless workloads, etc. Your company data stored in any environment should be safe. This is regardless of whether your company data is managed internationally or externally. In addition, you can also consider using a private cloud for an extra layer of security.
Cloud Storage and Virtual Data Rooms are two different technologies that can be used for data storage. The difference between the two is that virtual data rooms are online platforms where you can store your documents, and cloud storage is a storage service that provides remote data storage as a service.
Storage Area Network, also known as SAN storage solutions are a critical component in the data management and storage strategies of many organizations. SANs are designed to handle large volumes of data and provide high-speed, reliable access to this data across networks. SAN storage solutions are integral for organizations needing efficient, scalable, and reliable data storage. They are particularly beneficial for environments with large amounts of data and high-performance requirements, such as in data centers, financial institutions, and large enterprises. Choosing the right SAN solution requires careful consideration of factors such as performance needs, budget, and future growth expectations. With the right approach, SANs can significantly enhance an organization’s data storage and management capabilities.
The protection tools offer 3600 data security and visibility. They use artificial intelligence algorithms for data monitoring and governance. Their main advantage is that they provide real-time responses. If cybercriminals attempt to access your system network, the tools block them. You may configure the tools to create data encryption for improved security.
Create backups and respond swiftly after a breach
No matter how strong your security protocols are, attacks may still happen. Cybercriminals are consistently designing new ways to launch attacks. It might be hard for you to keep up with their speed. Data backups make it easy to recover if an attack occurs.
Create backups in multiple data stores for enhanced security. Have clearly defined steps to take if a breach occurs. They should include mitigation and recovery steps. Every action after an attack needs to be swift. It helps prevent further losses and to protect your company’s reputation.
Approximately 2,200 cyberattacks happen every day. In the first quarter of 2022, there were around 15 million data breaches. Organizations must take the problem of data breaches seriously. They need to have in place elaborate prevention and recovery plans. Employee training on cybersecurity is an important aspect. There should be controls on the amount of data generated from all sources. Create backups to avoid losing sensitive data after a breach.
Ian Schultz is a writer in the technology niche with rich experience in areas like cloud computing, AI and ML, cybersecurity, and programming. He has written for top publications and has a huge fan following on social media.