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How to Protect Your Business from Data Breaches

The internet has brought people closer than they ever were, and the inception of social media has taken connectivity to another level. With the internet thoroughly integrated into our daily lives, however, there is a great need to defend ourselves from cybercrime and data leaks. This is particularly true for websites and online businesses, where a great deal of sensitive information is shared between the user and the company.

Protecting your business from internet security breaches is extremely essential. What if one of your users’ data (or ALL of your users’ data) slips into the wrong hands and is traced back to you? Imagine if the stolen information is being used to stalk your clients and cause physical harm to them. What steps could you take to recover that data? Judging from corporate responses to major data breaches, there is apparently very little that can be done once data has been compromised. All you can do is send apologies to the victims and offer free credit monitoring.

Facebook has been in the headlines recently for its poor handling of user data. Sensitive information on millions of Facebook users was exposed and <href=”#2969f8c51ced”>used inappropriately by Cambridge Analytica—and probably other companies as well. Facebook ran ads in several major UK and US newspapers apologizing for the data breach and said it was investigating other applications that had access to large amounts of user data.

The last decade has seen a massive rise in the Information security threats, and there have been more than five major security breaches in recent months, including the compromise of 3 billion Yahoo! Accounts, and—more recently—the infamous Wanna Cry malware attack for which prevention seemed to be the only cure.

With the release of new technology everyday, we are seeing new gadgets arriving with some form of internet access in them but no plan for security. The risk factor is therefore high, as each unsecured connection may be vulnerable and can potentially be exploited.

How to prevent data breaches

No one thing will prevent a data breach. Your best protection comes from layering multiple protections including firewall, monitoring, spam filtering with advanced threat protection, web filtering, encrypted emails, redundant backups, timely patches (updates), physical security, and cybersecurity awareness training for all users. Let us look into some ways to avoid data security breaches.

Train employees

Training staff on how to detect threats and avoid data breaches is one of the most important ways to stop breaches. A large number of threats still rely on people accessing malicious files, attachments or websites. Being able to spot these threats will decrease the chance of them taking shape.

Every business; either big or small, must train their employees about appropriate handling and protection of sensitive customer data. Educate your employees to not download any media that may be malicious. Make sure to have training meetings often to keep these practices in effect. This helps eliminate mistakes that lead to a company’s data breach.

Protect information

Sensitive information must be protected wherever it is stored, sent or used—especially with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect next month. Encryption is the key to store your data securely. Store your data in an encrypted form and try to reduce the transfer of data. While online, use a VPN to encrypt your online communication and transactions. Also, try to use a browser that is secure.

Strong passwords

Develop the habit of keeping unique, strong passwords for every account, especially for the accounts you use to store the information of your users. You should also change the password on a regular basis.

Monitor data leakage

Periodically check security controls to ensure everything is functioning as expected. Try to monitor data leakage regularly and if any holes are detected, resolve them immediately.

Employ antivirus and anti-spyware protection

It is more than important to devote some time and funds on malware protection and also in keeping it regularly updated to safeguard the information of both parties. Install software updates promptly, use real time monitoring, vendor management systems and other data protections including: multi-factor authentication procedures, encryption standards, data access limitations, formal log audit programs and data destruction protocols.

Create a breach response plan

Having a breach response plan will help in triggering quick response to data breaches and reduce the potential impact. The plan should contain steps to notify relevant staff and any resources necessary to contain the breach.

In a Nutshell…

Thanks to the internet, small businesses are now better equipped to compete with much larger competitors. Most businesses have realized the significance and value of keeping a website with an updated and active blog and social network. A concrete web marketing strategy can be a blessing to a business regardless of its size, but it also exposes a business to cyber and malware attacks if proper precaution is not taken beforehand.

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