In 2020, Microsoft reported an enormous data breach where the information of 250 million users was leaked. You would think that companies like Microsoft were immune to such incidents because of how seriously they take cybersecurity. It really makes you wonder: is any person or business truly safe from a data breach? Sadly, the answer is no, and data breaches have become one of the top cyber threats companies face worldwide.
Make sure you don’t make the mistake of thinking hackers won’t target your business just because it’s small. Your business might not have as much valuable data as corporations like Microsoft, but you still have quite a bit, and hackers know that. The truth is, any business can be attacked at any moment. In fact, smaller businesses usually have weak cybersecurity measures in place, making them the perfect target for cyber criminals.
Now is the time to take the threat of data breaches seriously and start being proactive about them. In this article, you’ll learn 6 steps to take to make your business much safer from data breaches.
Understand why data breaches happen
Knowing what you’re up against also means knowing what to look out for and which areas of your business to improve. Here are the main ways in which data breaches occur:
- Insider threats. Data leaks can easily occur from internal sources. After all, employees have much more power than hackers because they already have access to important information.
- Phishing. This is when hackers try to extract sensitive information, such as passwords, by pretending to be someone they’re not. For example, you might get an email asking you to reset the password of one of your accounts, but that email is actually coming from a hacker.
- Malware. All sorts of malware can lead to data breaches. There are various ways in which it can get onto your device, like a phishing scheme or an insecure website.
Now you know what causes data breaches. Keep on reading to find out how to address these threats and protect your business from a data breach.
Ensure password safety
Passwords are the first thing to focus on when increasing your company’s security. You probably know the old rule that you should never reuse your passwords. Well, password safety goes way beyond that. Ensure that all of your passwords are not only different but also strong to make sure hackers can’t guess them using special software. Create long, complicated passwords that are as difficult to guess as possible.
If you want to protect your company’s sensitive data, consider using a business password manager. With it, you can create extra complex passwords without needing to remember them. Your passwords will all be safe in your password manager account, available on any device.
Most software has vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Through these vulnerabilities, your company devices may be spied on, and sensitive data may be stolen. Software updates often aim to fix those vulnerabilities as soon as they come to light, which is why you should never forget to update software.
Ensure that everyone within the organization is aware of the importance of updating software. Maybe even send out general notices when a new update comes out.
Protect access to important information
When you think about cyber attacks, your mind usually goes to hackers sitting in dark rooms halfway across the world. Well, these types of people should definitely be considered when building up your company’s cybersecurity defenses. However, did you know that most data breaches occur from within an organization? There’s usually only a handful of employees that are fully trustworthy, so don’t make the mistake of trusting everyone equally.
Many employees have access to sensitive information that isn’t even relevant to their work, and it’s best to limit such access as much as possible. Do a thorough review of who has access to sensitive company data and make changes if necessary.
Safely delete data
You’re probably familiar with the shredders people use to dispose of old business documents. Well, you should also be careful when disposing of data virtually. Hackers might gain access to the files you delete if you aren’t extra careful. Make sure that when you delete data, it’s actually deleted and not sitting in your computer’s trash can.
Also, when replacing devices and disposing of old ones, ensure that they’re wiped clean. When people sell their used devices, they often accidentally leave a lot of important data on them, so don’t make the same mistake.
All members of an organization must be aware of potential cyber threats and how to avoid them, especially when it comes to phishing. Train your employees to recognize and avoid phishing schemes.
Tell them to look out for fake emails, phone calls, text messages, and even websites. Sometimes, hackers can pretend to be their boss and ask for sensitive information. Whenever employees receive such unusual requests, they should always double-check with management before sending out any important data.
Employees should also look out for malware, which is often hidden in various links and websites. To be safe, advise them to only visit websites that they know are secure when on their work device.
Keep a backup
Although the steps mentioned above should be enough to protect your business from a data breach, you can never be 100% certain. You should always have a backup of your data in case the worst happens and your data gets deleted.
Ensure that there’s a secure and encrypted backup of sensitive company data. For majorly important data, keep several backups and maybe even a hard copy.
Data breaches are scary because they have the power to close down a business or land it in court. Because of how dangerous they are, it’s important to always be prepared.
Hopefully, you found some new and useful information that will help keep your company’s sensitive data safe. The steps mentioned above should be enough to increase your business security substantially, so don’t waste any time and start following them today.