Tips To Help You Prevent Data Breaches in Your Business

8 min read
Dec 21, 2022 4:00:00 PM

Data protection has never been more crucial since cyberattacks are growing more regular, sophisticated, and damaging. Recent high-profile local examples include those involving Optus, Medibank, and Woolworths, which all suffered large data breaches. Due to this, regulators have increased the maximum fine for significant or persistent violations from $2.2 million to $50 million. 

A data breach may be very expensive for your company, both in terms of monetary fines and reputational harm. So, what can you do to prevent data breaches and safeguard the personal data of your customers? 

Businesses may frequently stop security breaches from happening by understanding some fundamental data breach prevention tactics. There are numerous typical causes of security breaches. Cyber liability insurance, however, can assist a firm in recovering if it is attacked. 

Data Breaches Aren't Just a Problem for Big Business 

When a large firm, like Google, Target, or Equifax, experiences a data breach, it usually makes headlines. This may offer owners of small businesses a false sense of security, but in reality, small businesses, not giant corporations, are more likely to fall prey to cyberattacks. 

The amount of private data that some company owners' organizations save on customers, workers, and vendors may surprise them. A sizable quantity of data that is valuable to hackers is present in the typical small firm, including: 

  • Birthdates, license numbers, and Social Security numbers of employees.
  • Names, phone numbers, and email addresses of clients 
  • Financial data, such as account and routing numbers 
  • Numbers on credit cards 

While it's true that a security breach at a large company can result in a larger payout for the thieves, small firms sometimes have fewer protection measures in place, making them considerably more vulnerable to hacking. 

According to research from a data security provider, a small business's typical data breach results in recovery expenditures of $179,000 per incident. Businesses that are not financially equipped to handle the fallout from a cyber-attack risk being forced to shut down. Therefore, a critical step for a company is to hire specialists to protect your data and secure every digital print while enabling digital transformation solutions. 

Read Also: Modernizing Data Protection for Business Continuity and Recovery 

Does My Organization Need to Worry About Data Breaches? 

Regardless of the size of your business, you should be concerned about data breaches and make every effort to avoid them. 

There are fundamental data breach prevention and protection tactics you may employ regardless of how big or small your firm is to lower the danger of typical security risks. 

As was previously noted, hackers may gain millions by accessing the data of industry titans, but small firms bear the brunt of data breaches because they lack the resources or technical know-how to protect their digital assets. 

Therefore, it is always advisable to maintain your data and digital information at all times, even if your business just provides small-scale digital transformation solutions. While businesses may run smoothly as you opt for digital transformation services, for instance, protecting every implication of business trade is as crucial as running the business.  

How Do Data Breaches Happen? 

Hackers are well known for coming up with inventive techniques to steal private information. For instance, in 2021, more than 2,200 firms in the United States were affected by the CLOP ransomware. The virus was obtained because of email phishing attacks by hackers that contained an email attachment that was programmed to look like a genuine executable file. 

Although many businesses have already created security policies that offer effective protection against ransomware, failing to put these policies into practice can still leave people open to malware and other infections. 

It's important to keep in mind that not all data breaches are brought on by sophisticated viruses or duplicitous phishing scams. The cause is frequently uncomplicated human mistakes. 

A basic example of this would be a worker leaving a laptop or briefcase with sensitive information unattended, which would then result in its theft. 

Read Also: Keeping Backup Strategy in Line with Data Growth & Business Operations 

Tips to Prevent Data Breaches in Your Organization 

Preventing a data breach from happening in the first place is the best method to remediate one when it occurs. Getting your password security under control is a key step towards averting a security breach in the workplace since over 81% of successful data breaches are triggered by stolen or compromised employee passwords. 

Here are a few pieces of advice: 

1. Asset register 

You will have a better knowledge of your organization's security posture if you have visibility into the hardware and software assets that are present in your network and physical infrastructure. 

Building categories and rankings around potential risks and vulnerabilities your assets may face may also be done using an asset inventory. You may more effectively prioritize the repair actions that will be made on these assets by using categories and ratings for vulnerabilities. 

Endpoint protection is now a top priority because of data breaches. Simply said, antivirus is insufficient to stop a significant data intrusion. In reality, if you only use anti-virus protection, your endpoints, such as computers and laptops, would be left open to attack. Your PCs and laptops might end up being a key entry point for breaches. 

Encryption is used to avoid data loss and leakage, and standardized data security standards are enforced across all your servers, networks, and endpoints, lowering the likelihood of a data breach. These encryption services are part of digital transformation solutions when you hire a professional.  

2. Management of vulnerability and compliance 

You may find holes, weak points, and security misconfigurations in your physical and virtual environments by using a vulnerability and compliance management (VCM) solution, or at the very least by doing a vulnerability assessment. VCM can continually check your infrastructure and IT assets for flaws in compliance, configuration best practices, and vulnerabilities. 

Allowing your security team to better understand the environment's security vulnerability concerns, i.e., the Threat Landscape, and priorities around what requires repair are just a few advantages that will assist minimize a data breach. You may develop an action plan to address these vulnerabilities and delegate it to the proper staff members with the help of a decent VCM. 

3. Security posture audits regularly 

Validating your security posture will be made easier by conducting routine audits to find any potential brand-new weaknesses in compliance or governance. Unlike vulnerability assessments or penetration tests, a security audit will provide a more detailed evaluation of your security practices. A security audit considers both the organization's dynamic character and its approach to information security. 

Typical inquiries that could be asked during the security audit include the following: 

  • Do you have written information security rules for your company? 
  • Do you have a management process in place, documented and monitored escalation profiles and processes, and a playbook in case of events or breaches? 
  • Do you have network security measures in place (such as IDS/IPS, EPP, and next-generation firewalls)? 
  • Are security and log monitoring configured?
  • Do regulations for encryption and passwords exist? 
  • Does a plan for business continuity and disaster recovery exist? 
  • Are applications subjected to security flaw testing? 
  • Does the IT environment have a change management mechanism in place at every level? 
  • How are digital media and files backed up? To whom will this backup be accessible? Are restoration methods put to the test?
  • Are the auditing logs examined? When are the auditing logs for security reviewed? 
Being prepared with these questions is certain to assist you. 
4. Educate & train your staff 

You may then impose a documented employee policy on data privacy and security after finishing your security policy audits. People cannot willingly comply with regulations they are unfamiliar with; therefore, you should organize frequent security training to ensure that all staff are aware of these newly developed policies. 

You could think about providing training on the following topics when creating your security policy for employees: 

  • Controlling end user rights & access about the "least privilege" principle 
  • Making use of several, distinctive passwords on computers or other equipment used at business 
  • Establishing a system with documentation for existing contractors and vendors (passwords, key cards, laptop access, etc.) 
  • Informing staff members of the significance of reporting any suspected data security leaks or other breaches. 
  • Making a policy outlining how personnel should manage, discard, retrieve, and send data. 

Employees require training on the many forms of contemporary phishing assaults. Organizations must ensure proper training is provided to employees.   

How Can a Cybersecurity Breach Affect Your Business? 

When ransomware attacks target a company, the virus prevents all data from being accessed on the computer system. The scenario may worsen if client data is taken in a cyberattack. In addition to damaging a company's reputation, failing to notify impacted parties by state regulations may result in a punishment for the firm. If consumers' identities are taken as a result of the hack, businesses risk legal action. 

There are a few strategies for company owners to avoid shelling out thousands of dollars in legal and recovery fees. This entails becoming knowledgeable about how to avert data security breaches in the first place and buying data breach insurance, also known as cyber liability insurance, to cover legal costs if an incident occurs. 

Only 33% of small company owners, however, have this cyber liability coverage, according to a survey performed by Insureon in collaboration with the online small business directory Manta. These companies are putting themselves at serious risk given how pricey a breach can be. 

  • Make a cybersecurity strategy 

While it's important to be ready in case there is a data breach, company owners who develop a cybersecurity strategy may be able to stop an attack from ever happening. Business owners may choose to employ popular cybersecurity techniques. 

  • Employee training 

By educating staff members to use complicated passwords, stay away from opening attachments in emails from unknown senders, and securely dispose of sensitive information, business owners may greatly lower their chance of a breach. 

  • Limit the websites that staff can browse 

It is less likely that an employee may unintentionally visit a website containing dangerous links if access restrictions are tightened. 

  • Utilize security software 

Hackers can't access data by installing firewalls, anti-malware, and antivirus software. 

  • Updating hardware and software 

Computer systems may be kept secure by installing updates as soon as they are published. Updates may often be scheduled to happen automatically. 

  • Demand strong passwords 

Everyone at the company must use multi-factor authentication and have complex, one-of-a-kind passwords that are updated every few months. 

  • Make a Bring Your Device (BYOD) policy 

A policy describing how company information should be sent and maintained on personal devices, such as mobile phones, should be established if workers use them for work. 

  • Restricting data exposure 

By reducing the number of locations where data is kept, encrypting data during transmission, and removing outdated or unnecessary data, you may lessen the likelihood of a breach. Employers could also wish to restrict employee access to certain data. 

  • Engage an IT advisor 

Non-technical business owners might want to think about hiring an IT expert to evaluate the company's cybersecurity dangers and assist with network security. 

Hackers aren't going away, and they're simply becoming more creative in their attempts to access computer systems and steal data. Business owners can safeguard their organization, staff, and clients from having private information stolen by hackers by being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity and small business insurance. They can also protect their company from the costs and negative publicity that frequently accompanies a data breach. 

Don't wait until it's too late to reduce the danger of a data leak. Get in contact with our experts right away if you need guidance or want to know how we can help your company use software that reduces the likelihood of a data breach happening. TransformHub, the best digital transformation company in Singapore, safeguards your company from data breaches, locates any data leaks, and assists you in regularly assessing the security posture of all your providers. Get in touch with us today!