Data Breach Prevention: How to Protect Your Business and Customer Data
Think your business isn’t big enough to be targeted for a data breach?
What is a Data Breach?
First things first, what is a data breach? Put simply, this is a cyber attack, which results in unauthorized individuals having access to sensitive or private information. That means that documents and/or files are shared with individuals outside your business. The private information can be used to steal identities, finances, and threaten the company. As a business owner, you have to take active steps toward data breach prevention.
The Cost of a Data Breach
Underestimating the cost of a data breach is a grave mistake. As mentioned earlier, the average total cost of a data breach for small businesses is $200,000.
The same stats suggest that each stolen or lost record sets a company back around $148. Businesses failing to take preventative measures could lose out in a serious manner.
Increased Data Breach Risk
What’s more, it’s not merely the one-time cost you have to consider when investigating data breaches. These incidents have a negative impact on clients’ perception of the business, which can lead to further losses in the long-term. After the initial data breach, the risk of a business experiencing a subsequent breach in the next two years rises by 27.9%.
In the wake of a data breach catastrophe, business leaders, such as chief privacy officers (CPO) or chief information security officers (CISO), have a duty to rebuild clients’ trust in the company. Damage control is key here. Organizations have to offer the victims of the breach a level of security in attempts to recover their loyalty and confidence.
Cost of Data Breach vs Prevention
With that in mind, the value of good data protection practices cannot be overlooked. The potential cost of a data breach is a wakeup call to business leaders. Investing in the data breach prevention techniques has a positive impact on the company’s risk level. Both chief privacy officers (CPO) or chief information security officers (CISO) must determine any potential causes of data breaches and eliminate any threats ahead of time.
Moreover, leaders must adhere to the guidelines set out as part of the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act 2019. The bill imposes penalties on commercial entities that fail to follow the regulated process when it comes to data breaches and protection. Leaders have a duty to educate themselves and their staff members on these practices as part of their data breach prevention strategy. Identifying any weaknesses within the business’ data protection tools is crucial to protecting the company from this risk.
Potential Causes of Data Breaches
As part of your data breach prevention approach, you must analyze and determine any potential threats. While business leaders strive to avoid chinks in the company’s armor, there are numerous reasons that there may be a breach. Investigating these risk factors and attempting to lessen their impact is one of the most effective data breach prevention techniques you can employ.
Common data attack methods include:
Internal leaders and staff members have access to the business data. However, there are times when third-party access may be active. Whenever a business partners with third-party services and companies, the risk of a data breach soars. For that reason, analyzing each new partnership and their weaknesses is a savvy data protection strategy.
Malicious malware could penetrate your online systems. While most mainstream businesses employ regular authentication steps as one of their data breach prevention techniques, these can be compromised. Attacks using malware are some of the most common causes of data breaches and are hard to prevent. Ensuring that your business is up to date with the latest protective antivirus software could be one approach to take here.
Another major cause of data breaches is stolen credentials. With the correct information, attackers have the ability to access your systems. All these individuals need is a username and password combination to have total access to your business data. This risk is one of the major causes of data breaches in modern times. Leaders have to be vigilant and operate a highly effective data breach prevention model to avoid this incident.
External Mobile Devices
Allowing staff members to use their own devices to access company systems could be a major weakness. While your data protection tools may be up to date, there’s no guarantee that your staff members will apply the same vigilance. Taking the approach that no staff member can use their own hardware helps to eradicate this risk completely.
Insecure Payment Processing
Payment processing could be a core aspect of your operations. If that’s the case, your data breach prevention technique must directly approach this problem. During processing, numerous breaches could take place, including third parties stealing credit card information. Ensuring that your system is water-tight prevents this type of data breach.
You can prevent this by choosing a reputable payment processor that prioritizes your business’ security. Payment Depot, for example, offers data breach protection to keep your biz safe and secure. Learn more about our offerings and low rates by giving us a call at 877.877.7668 or requesting a call back here.
How to Prevent Data Breaches in Your Business
If you’re a business leader charged with the task of data management, it’s time to take preventative action. When you’re creating your data protection strategy, there is a myriad of data protection techniques you can employ. Here are some of the expert tips and data protection tools that will enable you to succeed in preventing breaches.
Conduct Regular Security Training
Investing in people is the secret to your success here.
Your staff members and business managers require adequate training on the topic of data protection.
Needless to say, the technological world is ever-changing and expanding. For that reason, it’s crucial that you update your training techniques and manual as regularly as possible.
Implement Continuous Patch Management
Weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your computer software could present a major risk when it comes to data protection. Proper patch management on a continuous basis is necessary to avoid any potential breaches or threats to your security. Ensuring that your IT professionals have a patch management strategy in place is essential.
Be Mindful of Authorization and Accessibility
Be wary of how much accessibility you allow each staff member to have when it comes to your online services. Each employee does not need to have full access to the system to conduct the duties of their role.
You have a duty to assess each employee’s requirements and only give them the authority over some aspects of the system. Doing so will help with your data breach prevention strategy and allows for a lower risk factor overall.
Always Use Encryption
When it comes to sensitive or private data, you should always use an encryption method. Once a document has been properly encrypted, an individual would need the corresponding key to decipher its contents.
This approach to data breach prevention is a baseline technique. It should be your first port of call. Speak to your IT team about this technique and how it may be employed in your business. Encryption adds an extra level of security to your system, making it more difficult for attackers to access information.
Create an Equipment Use Policy
As we have already mentioned, one of the risk factors when it comes to data breaches is staff members using their own devices. Creating an equipment use policy is one of the most effective approaches to data breach prevention.
This document must state that staff members can only use internal equipment — i.e. workplace computers and mobile devices — to access your systems and ensure that you enforce the guidelines.
Define Your Data Breach Prevention Strategy
Armed with the above information, the next step is to define your data protection strategy. Utilizing the mentioned data breach protection techniques is an efficient starting point. However, it’s vital that you continuously research data protection and update your systems. Adopting a vigilant approach here will future proof your business activities.