Cybersecurity is the top concern of every business that operates in the online world. Cyber attacks can breach security and steal sensitive information about customers, clients and even business owners. Furthermore, cyber attacks are a lot more sophisticated than ever before and they continue to evolve each year. However, it’s not just because of the skills that hackers possess these days that cyber attacks are so effective, but also because many businesses lack proper security measures that can prevent data breaches.
As a matter of fact, 58% of online companies fail to evaluate the effectiveness of their security measures. What’s more alarming is that 4 out of 5 online companies don’t know where their sensitive information is stored or even how to adequately protect it. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the number of cyber attacks increases each year. Every business that wants to protect their data and their customers simply needs to implement proper security measures. In addition, they must update their security at all times and remain vigilant in order to defend themselves from potential threats. Here are a few tips on how to avoid data breach.
Security software is a must
Many businesses don’t have security software in place, mostly due to neglect or they’re trying to save resources for other projects. However, without security software, such as firewall, anti-virus, anti-malware and others, there’s no way to protect your data from threats of the online world. In addition, modern security software even provides anti-ransomware protection, seeing as how that cyber threat had an increase in use last year. Malicious software can easily get inside your network if you lack the adequate protection.
Security software helps prevent such intrusions and can detect and remove threats if your system is already infected. The cost of implementing proper security software is nothing compared to the losses of data breach. As a matter of fact, an average organizational cost of data breach is $7.35 million. Moreover, the 41% of organizational impact of data breach is loss of customers, while legal expenses due to data lost are 17%. Therefore, if you think security software will cost more than a data breach, think again.
Monitor your employees
If you allow access to your sensitive data to your employees, there are good chances that your data will be compromised. Employees have to be educated on how to handle sensitive information and they need to be given access only to data necessary for them to do their jobs. Moreover, they need to be educated about the methods cyber criminals use to breach security. For instance, 91% of data breaches start with a phishing scam. If an employee clicks on a malicious link in an email, they create a backdoor for hackers to exploit.
What’s more, around 60% of cyber attacks are successful because of the data leak from within a company. Sometimes, this leak happens due to neglect, while sometimes it is intentional. Resentful employees wouldn’t hesitate to create a breach on purpose if they’re unsatisfied for some reason. That’s why you should implement security sanction policies, employee monitoring software and other security measures to protect your data from within.
Protect card data
Cardholder data is one of the most sensitive information a business can possess, especially ecommerce businesses that handle a lot of transactions on daily basis. That’s why card data must be encrypted and secure in order to prevent data breaches and data theft. The best way to secure such data is to ensure your business is in accordance with PCI DSS compliance. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for businesses that handle cardholder data.
The standard is issued and authorized by Payment Cards Industry Security Standards Council to help businesses protect sensitive information and prevent data breaches across the entire payment network. For instance, if you offer direct debit payment to your customers it means you’re authorized to collect payments from their accounts. In case of a data breach, an attacker can use this to empty a customer’s account. However, with security protocols of PCI DSS, you’re making sure that sensitive data is adequately protected from such theft.
Perform risk assessment
It’s imperative to test your security measures regularly. If your business scales or you introduce new software and hardware to your existing infrastructure, your security measures may not be adequate to protect everything. That’s why you should perform risk assessment and regular intervals, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of your security measures. Furthermore, it allows you to test your operational network and the overall security so that you can identify potential weaknesses. You can also simulate an attack on your security in a controlled environment to determine if there are any weak spots hackers could exploit.
Moreover, you can detect additional risks that you probably weren’t even aware of. For example, unauthorized access, abuse of information by an authorized user, loss of information, data leak and unintended disclosure of sensitive data. By conducting regular risk assessments, you’re able to understand the weaknesses in your security and by knowing where your weaknesses are, you can easily make improvements. It’s of the utmost importance to test your security and ensure it’s able to protect your network form data breaches.
As mentioned before, cybersecurity is the top concern for everyone that operates in the digital world. With so many potential threats, online businesses must ensure their safety and the safety of their clients and customers. The only sure way to avoid data breach is to have strong security measures in place, which will protect your company both from the outside and from within.