How to Prevent Data Breaches

For businesses and organizations with guarded trade secrets and delicate financial details, there are massive repercussions in case of a data breach. With new technology used with hostile motivations, you can’t be too confident even if you’re offline. Unfortunately, would-be hackers and thieves always seem to find ways to get what they want.

If you fail to acknowledge the threat of a data breach it will leave your system vulnerable. If you ignore the smallest details, you put your business at risk. Modern security threats exist because most people are clueless about them. That’s the irony of technology – when the typical company executive or business owner is unaware of the susceptibility of his data.

 

How a Data Breach Occurs

Anyone who has sensitive data or information is at risk of a breach, although the level of vulnerability depends from one situation to another. Private individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and, of course, governments are potential targets. One can call data or information as “vulnerable” when there is a glaring weakness, i.e., the use of wireless technology and human behaviour.

We think of advanced connectivity features brought by technology as conveniences. However, the likes of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies are the medium from which data breach occurs (at least for the most part). Sometimes, our endless search for convenience and efficiency leads to compromised data protection and security.

For example, smart home devices and mobile phones offer multiple connectivity options. Still, the absence of added layers of security like data encryption makes it easy for hackers to take full advantage of what’s readily available. Stealing information from digital products that rely on wireless technology is a prevalent issue.

It’s inaccurate to say that a data breach happens when a hacker from the outside finds a way in – much like how a burglar enters a home through the window. The reality is that most of the cases involve a minor oversight by an employee or a significant flaw in the organization’s IT infrastructure.

 

Preventing a Data Breach

Data breaches don’t get to nitpick victims. It is a crime of opportunity – whenever these hackers and thieves discover a vulnerability in a system, they pounce on it. Every business or organization faces the threat of a breach every day. So, this should be enough reason to figure out a way to prevent protected and sensitive data from being exposed and stolen.

1 – Start with your employees

As much as you hate to face added expenditures, you should realize by now that sending your people to a data security training is no longer just an option. If they’ve gone through such training before, then take them to a refresher course. The purpose of a data security training is to make them acknowledge the immediacy of solving the issue of a data breach. Most employees in a typical office or business environment don’t care about protecting data and information. The training enlightens them about the risk of getting hacked and exposing company secrets.

2 – Simulate a phishing attempt

Phishing is like a go-to strategy for hackers. And why not? It’s quite effective, and most people aren’t even aware that they’re a victim of it. The success of a phishing attack depends on human error. When you click on a link inside a malicious email, you’re directed to a phishing site that asks for crucial information such as login details, account name and number, passwords, and the like.

It’s impossible to prevent a phishing attack if your people don’t even know how it works. So, to make them understand how to protect themselves from it, the best solution is to simulate it. Spend some time on a proven phishing simulator online and test your employees with it. Figure out if they can detect a phishing email; if not, subject them to an active training course on how to detect and prevent the passing of information through phishing attacks.

3 – Let your IT team evaluate accounts.

It’s a painstaking process, but evaluating all existing accounts is necessary. It isn’t about scrutinizing those accounts and what not – the intention is to find loopholes and beef up security measures. Getting rid of digital bloat is a bonus.

Company executives ignore IT-related concerns, but little do they know that some accounts are still being accessed by people who are no longer with the organization. That right there is a potential entryway for a breach. A comprehensive evaluation of the existing accounts is the best way to eliminate the weaknesses in the IT infrastructure.

4 – Focus on your data backup

You think that the transition to a cloud storage solution is enough to protect your business data, but you can’t be too complacent. If you already made a deal with a cloud storage provider, it won’t hurt to go over the service agreement. Hook up with your IT team and do some brainstorming about the security measures provided by the cloud.

Be sure you and your team are satisfied with the security measures. Double-check the names of those who are authorized to access sensitive information and understand what happens to your protected data in case you terminate the contract. Even with an advanced cloud strategy, you can’t be too confident of the security measures in place.

Conclusion

Your company’s survival in a hostile environment depends on how you protect your most valuable resource – data. It’s your job to prevent a data breach at all costs; once your “protected” information is exposed, it could lead to the downfall of your business. JOT Digital is a leading information technology firm. For more information please contact us.

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