How to Prevent Data Breaches for Small to Large Businesses

how to prevent data breaches

How to Prevent Data Breaches for Small to Large Businesses

Many organizations face challenges when it comes to how to prevent data breaches.

In a recent survey, 35 out of 100 global retailers cited customer and employee information as their top priority. This report ascertains that threats to information security are real problems for businesses across the world.

Some years ago, data security was a concern for big companies, but the narrative has changed over time. Today, hackers can target anyone, including individuals.

A cyber-attack can hurt a company in several ways. Apart from fraud, it can permanently taint the reputation of a business.

Most customers and vendors are not comfortable transacting with businesses known to have experienced data breaches. Even after years, it remains hard to regain the trust and confidence of partners.

Therefore, the management must lay down stringent measures for securing the organization’s information. Read on to learn how to prevent data breaches.

Involve Your Employees

Workers who continually interact with a system are the most probable suspects of compromising security. Similarly, they may be the first ones to note anomalies when an attack takes place.

IT managers should involve all employees when launching information security strategies. They should train them on the importance of complying with the fundamentals of data security management. Some principles include:

  • The need safeguard passwords
  • Not to write down their passwords
  • Never to open unknown emails and attachments
  • To shut computers when not in use
  • To avoid foreign storage devices
  • To avoid pirated  software

Some of these things look obvious, but most users are not keen with them. Help them to understand their importance. Before installing new security solutions, brief your employees.

Hire a Data Security Manager

Hiring an in-house expert to deal with information security is not a priority for most SMEs.

The IT department feels too expensive to maintain until a disaster occurs. The damage and penalties that can result from a data breach can outweigh the cost of hiring a professional.

Master Your Network

Networks can expand in a short period. If you don’t take control from the start, it becomes hard to manage them in the future.

They comprise of multiple users, devices, and data. Know the storage location of all data, the people who can access it, and what they can do with it.

Identify the number of devices on the network. Disconnect any gadgets that are longer in use. If computers become obsolete, extract any relevant information and destroy them.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Most data breaches become successful if the information is understandable. Encryption converts data into an unintelligible format that requires a unique key to decode it. If an intruder accesses encrypted data, it may not be useful.

The staff should ensure that the sites they visit are secure. They should never open the organization’s system on open connections since hackers can sniff on them. For instance, they can capture your data when accessing it through public WiFi.

Similarly, ensure that your software-as-a-service (SAAS) and cloud service vendors encrypt your data.

Backup Important Data

Investing in high-end data security solutions is not a guarantee that a breach cannot happen. Criminals hone their skills every day. They stay abreast with developments and devise new methods to launch attacks.

One possibility of a data breach is data loss.

If you have backup copies of the information required for your day to day business, you have little to worry about after a violation. You can also set up your system from scratch in the case of ransomware without conceding with the demands of the hacker.

Install Ad-Blockers

Installing an ad-blocker on every device connected to your network can go a long way in averting malicious activity. The software tool is powerful, and it offers several benefits.

First, it stops irritating pop-ups and pages from opening spontaneously on the browser. Hence, they eliminate distractions for users.

Pop-up ads can waste considerable bandwidth and hurt page load times. You can solve this problem with a reliable ad-blocker.

Unsolicited online ads are distractive. By getting rid of them, you increase your employees’ throughput. You also eliminate the possibility of workers clicking on fraudulent ads that could open a way for violation.

Update Your BYOD Policy

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a popular trend with modern companies. Businesses adopt it because it saves them the cost of supplying tech equipment to workers.

Welcoming external end-point devices creates room for vulnerabilities. The question of how to prevent breaches when you have personal gadgets on your corporate network keeps arising.

You can solve it by ensuring that all gadgets follow data security procedures similar to those of your in-house system. The IT department should be able to control access to company resources remotely.

Have an Incidence Response Plan

Since you never know when a breach will happen and what its extent will be, it’s advisable to have an emergency plan. Develop a well-thought incident response strategy to control damages after an attack and be sure to consult IT experts.

Contact your insurance company and financial institution to find out the available cyber liability coverage options. The plan should capture essential dates as well as time-sensitive requirements.

Data breaches attract the attention of the media. You should plan on how to address them if an attack occurs. Likewise, devise a strategy for dealing with customers and employees who get affected.

You can also have a data breach attorney on standby to take you through recovery if the worst happens. If the incident ends up in the courts, your lawyer can help with the litigation process.

How to Prevent Data Breaches – Wrapping Up

You can do a lot to avert or arrest malicious activity, but it’s hard to have tamper-proof data security. A  firewall, for instance, won’t be enough if you expose your passwords.

One of the best practices for safeguarding your network is creating staff awareness. You can back it with restrictive data access permissions, encryption, hiring an IT manager, and so on. Above all, employees should take it as their responsibility to prevent and report breaches.

Has your organization ever experienced a cyber-attack? Now you know how to prevent data breaches.

If you have challenges with developing a data security strategy, contact us for advice.