How To Prevent Data Breaches
How do companies prevent data breaches? Preventing a data breach is easier than you think.
You may have heard stories of major companies dealing with the fallout of data breaches. It’s expensive, embarrassing, and destructive for companies that fall victim—and these effects hurt more when you realize just how easy it is to prevent a data breach in most businesses.
So how do you prevent data breaches? And what can you do to respond to data breaches in progress?
Types of Data Breaches
First, it’s important to recognize the many types of data breaches. You’ll need a strategy that accounts for all of them if you want thorough coverage.
In a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, a malicious party uses a remote code execution (RCE). If malicious code transfers the execution of a web app to a script, they can effectively gain control of an entire network.
This is when nefarious parties use malicious code to enter a system via SQL in a database. Because of the threat of SQL attacks, it’s important to carefully audit your third-party partners.
In a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, a cybercriminal can pose as a trusted third party and intercept the data as it transfers from one point to another. Such an attack can easily expose personal information.
Ransomware is designed to completely take over a computer or network, rendering it inoperable unless a fixed ransom is paid. This is a form of extortion that can result in significant data loss.
Malicious parties aren’t always technically skilled or super intelligent; sometimes, they’re just naturally persuasive. Some data breaches occur because of a social engineering scheme. If your employees can be convinced to give up their login credentials, they can essentially grant control of your systems to anyone.
How Do Data Breaches Affect Companies?
What are the effects of data breaches on companies?
Initially, you’ll be hit with many direct costs. You’ll be responsible for identifying, mitigating, and making up for the damage caused by the data breach. That usually means hiring experts, diagnosing the problem, repairing your systems, and compensating people impacted by the incident. For large businesses with major data breaches, this can cost millions of dollars.
On top of that, you’ll likely face revenue loss. Your partners and customers want to work with you because they trust your security and integrity. Once you suffer a data breach, they’ll lose trust in your business, and many customers will leave as a result.
If your company is responsible for protecting customer data and that data becomes vulnerable, you could face legal issues in the future. These can be extremely complicated and expensive, adding to your costs even further.
The reputational damage from a data breach can last for years, or even decades. If the security breach is big enough or high profile enough, it could hinder your business goals indefinitely.
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How To Prevent a Data Breach
So how do you prevent a data breach?
Create a High-Level Plan
At the highest level, you should have an overarching strategy for how you’ll guard against data breaches. You need to understand which types of data breaches are most likely to affect your business, proactively identify weak points, and come up with standards for both digital and physical security.
Train and Educate Your Employees on Best Practices
Even one employee mistake can leave your organization vulnerable to a data breach, so it’s important to universally train and educate your employees on best practices. Many of these best practices are intuitive and simple, such as using complex passwords and refusing to give out your login credentials to anyone.
Practice Remote Monitoring
Put remote monitoring processes in place. You should have full visibility into traffic flows and activity levels across all your systems at all times. You should also have automatic flags in place so you’re notified if there’s any suspicious activity; this way, you can identify breaches in action and shut them down before they cause any more damage.
Create Data Backups
Data backups are critical for your business’s cybersecurity. If you suffer a ransomware attack or you’re unable to access a previous version of your system, for example, you can restore a backup and continue functioning like normal.
Know How To Detect Data Leakage
Data breach prevention tools make it easy to detect data leakage in progress. If you rely on manual efforts, you’re going to waste a lot of time and money.
It’s important for all your devices and software to remain up to date at all times. Developers constantly issue new patches to correct previous vulnerabilities, so if you’re even one patch behind, it could compromise your security.
Guard Physical Data
It’s not just about monitoring digital systems; you also need to guard your physical data. Make sure your physical servers and other hardware are secure.
Dispose of Equipment Responsibly
Always recycle or destroy your equipment responsibly, which means rendering all data inaccessible.
One of your best options is to hire professionals to help you with your cybersecurity needs, so you can rest assured that you have the best protection.
Data Breach Prevention Tools
Firewalls, VPNs, encryption, and dozens of other data breach prevention tools can help you minimize vulnerabilities, identify potential threats, and ultimately keep your business safer. They’re worth the investment if you want to keep your business secure and in full compliance with the law.
Need help to prevent data breaches? Is your company in need of a more robust cybersecurity strategy? CTMS can help. Contact us today for a free consultation!
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