Preventing Data Breaches In Your Organization
Protecting sensitive data has become a top priority in many organizations. With the increase in the number of malware attacks and even evolving to more sophisticated versions, there’s not much time to relax and be complacent simply because your data is encrypted. Only a fool could fall into this thinking. To protect your business data, approach
and ensure they establish properly as more than 95% of all cited incidents are due to human error.
There’s no stopping the hackers from targeting your business, but you can stop them from infiltrating your data. Here are some ways you can prevent data breaches from happening.
Education from the Top Down
One of the main reasons for data breaches is inside attacks, not because it’s intentional, but largely because of careless actions of uninformed employees. Management is too confident that they are safe from risks because they have an incredible IT Security Director thinking they have full control in mitigating risks.
The development of policies and procedures on how to prevent data breaches is essential, and it is critical to educate all of the employees– old or new. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing and putting the entire business network in danger can be just a click away. Both the management and the employees should be updated and educated on cybersecurity policies and about new scams or potential risks as they arise. It could be a new phishing scheme or websites with harmful vulnerabilities. It’s much better to be ready. It’s a cliché, but prevention is still better than cure.
“Strong security starts with well-trained personnel..”
Strong security starts with well-trained personnel which is why the hiring process from the very start is essential. While it’s reasonable to hire someone who’s willing to learn, a highly developed individual who has a deep understanding of the current risk landscape is invaluable to an organization. When recruiting individuals, management must ensure that employees understand the concept of breach prevention and that the management is well-rehearsed should a breach occur.
Furthermore, management should thoroughly orient the newly hired employees on data breaches and maintain good communication lines with the security and compliance team to secure that all potential threats are monitored all throughout the day.
Develop an Exit Strategy
An exit strategy is a planned approach to a situation in a way that will minimize damages. In the same manner as how employees are to be educated on cybersecurity, having an exit strategy for employees is just as important. This includes setting up new passwords to make sure that computers and personal devices have no sensitive information and drafting contracts that include legal repercussions when sharing and utilizing sensitive data.
Limiting the Data Availability
Since cybercriminals can steal information from those employees who have access to it, one of the best ways to minimize risk is to lessen the availability of data by:
- Reducing the number of employees that have access to information that is exposed to the possibility of danger.
- Not collecting information that is not relevant to your business.
- Reducing the number of places where data is stored physically.
- Granting data access on an as-needed basis, and revoking access as soon as information is no longer necessary.
- Purging of data early and oftentimes.
Purge Your Data Properly
The common mistake of employees when deleting sensitive files is not making sure if there’s an existing file duplicate. Oftentimes, they delete files thinking that was everything of it. Getting rid of sensitive data in a correct manner is only winning half the battle. Minimizing the risk of data breaches before it turns into a huge problem using the proper data disposal techniques is a surefire win.
Monitor Your BYOD Programs
Bring Your Own Device or BYOD, is a program where employees bring their own computers, tablets, cellphones, etc. to work. Many organizations believed this to boost productivity and employee morale.
Although this may be true, you could open a pandora’s box of unwanted consequences.
Personal devices aren’t strictly controlled and monitored by management and so company information may not be secured. You increase the chance of having a data breach. On top of that, this leaves your
and system administrators frustrated as they now have to understand volumes of updates and patches for different devices with different operating systems.
To avoid these risks without having to terminate the BYOD Policy, understand the potential harm that goes with this and provide an extra layer of protection that can double secure your business data. It can be through a password and device encryption requirement, update and patch requirements, or making use of tracking software.
Secure Your Networks
Employees today are constantly on their mobile devices, and oftentimes have their devices set to “Automatically Connect” to the nearest Wi-Fi available. This leaves security professionals floundering, as there have been a lot of fake Wi-Fi capture spots that pull sensitive information from these “Hotspots.”
To keep your business data safe, ensure the security of your network by investing corporate VPN, that way all of the company data that’s being utilized is appropriately encrypted.
Develop Appropriate Usage Guidelines for Company Technology
Educate your employees on the appropriate usage of organizational technology. This includes when, where, and how to log in to accounts, how to check their connection to ensure if it is reliable and secure, and setting a time for not using devices.
Hold Outside Vendors to the Same Standards
By only working with organizations with proper security and regulatory designations, you can prevent data breaches and ensure that all of the appropriate controls are in place. Hiring organizations that hold no designations or function outside of governing bodies is indeed cheaper but would you settle for less if it means losing your customers due to a data breach? Of course, you won’t. After all, if your vendor makes a mistake—it is your clients who are on the line, not just theirs.
Prepare for the Worst
Regardless of how careful you are about your business data; eventually worst-case scenario happens. Establishing a disaster management plan allows you and your organization to feel prepared if the worst were to happen. While all of your preparations can help you to prevent data breaches, your risk is not fully mitigated. But being prepared allows your team and the whole organization to have a full understanding of their job on how to prevent the breach from growing.
Test Out your Disaster Management Plan
When you have developed a disaster management plan, make sure to test it out before something worst happens. Putting your breach protocol to the test with a mock disaster would be a good idea to see if your plan will work and can keep your data safe. Check how well prepared your organization is with that disaster management plan you have in your hands before something worst happens for real.
Audit your Organization Regularly
To have an audit regularly in your organization is very important, why? Because by auditing your team on their practices, you will find out where there are potential problems that could lead to future breaches. It will help your organization uncover problems, at the same time ensuring efficiency and also allowing your organization to modify policies and protocols before an issue.
Notify Early and Appropriately
If you find out that there’s a potential data breach that makes you feel uneasy, you should quickly notify and communicate with your IT security services. Because the sooner you notify them the faster the response is to an incident. Reporting an unusual or suspicious activity is the difference between a major breach and a minor one.