8 Practices To Effectively Prevent The Risk Of A Data Breach

Computers and the internet have opened up a new frontier for the development and expansion of humanity. The possibilities are seemingly endless in this new world that runs on code. However, just like any newfound frontiers, the risks are huge and the rewards are even higher. Perhaps the biggest risk to anyone who uses the internet for day-to-day tasks is that of a data breach. Every year, millions of users are affected by data breaches worldwide. If you own a business, the risks are multiplied because your livelihood depends on it. The data that’s stolen is often sold to shady elements who misuse it or blackmail the owner of the data. There are a few key tips that everyone should keep in mind to reduce the risk of data breaches when doing any kind of work online.

However, if you’re new to the tech space or aren’t very tech-savvy, chances are, you wouldn’t know what these tips are. This is why we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the various steps that you should take to keep your data secured. If you take these necessary steps then you’ll be amongst the minority of people who actually try to do something about these breaches. This in itself will make you less of a target when compared to other users who aren’t even aware of these issues. So without further delay, let’s get into it and find out the things you can do to prevent your data from being breached.

1. Proper Education

The vast majority of data breaches are caused due to the employees of an organization who don’t know what the best practices are. The most effective way to reduce the risk of breaches is to train your employees. This might be an exhaustive and long-drawn process but it’ll pay off quite well due to the increased companywide education. The employees will also feel like they’re an active part of your company and they’ll try to reduce the fatal errors that they make.

2. Encryption

One of the most effective tools at your disposal is encryption. If you’re not very well versed in computer science, you’ll be wondering what it actually means. However, the entire process is quite simple because encryption is like a digital lock. Whenever you encrypt your data, it gets converted into a format that can only be read after de-encrypting it with a key. This key is a sequence of numbers and letters that’s completely unique for every document. If you can keep your sensitive information encrypted then the data breach might still happen but the data that’s stolen will be rendered useless.

3. Evaluation

Regular evaluation of the hardware and software that you have can help you detect any issues before they blow up into larger problems that are more difficult to handle. Knowing the limitations of your assets can help you understand the vulnerabilities you’re suffering from and you can prepare a response plan accordingly. Also, try to evaluate any past data breaches that your company might’ve suffered from to get a better understanding of what you were lacking and what you can do to change that.

4. Regular Audits

An audit is much like the previous step of evaluation but it also helps you to determine who all have access to your data. A security audit is usually much more detailed and digs deep into the security loopholes you might have. The best way to audit your systems is to hire an expert who has adequate knowledge and experience in dealing with data breaches.

5. Access Protection

Previously, the employees used to have access to all the data of a company, and this used to be the root of all problems. With growing awareness and advancing technology, you can easily control the data that each and every one of your employees has access to. You should only let your employees access the data that’s absolutely necessary for their job because data breaches can cause losses costing businesses billions of dollars. Restricting access is an easy way of preventing data breaches and it allows you to give increasingly more powers to the employees who are at the top levels.

6. Constant Updates

If you don’t regularly update your software and hardware, you’re just a sitting duck for multiple cyber attacks. Software developers keep updating their software so that the vulnerabilities are addressed as they’re discovered. Using old software means that you won’t be as protected against data breaches as you could be on updating it. So just go on ahead and get updated versions for every little software on your company’s systems as it wouldn’t cost you anything extra.

7. Train and Re-Train

We’ve already discussed the importance of educating your employees about the best practices and precautions they should take. However, you should also remember that education is a continuous process and knowledge can get faded or outdated fairly quickly. This is why you need to regularly host training sessions to help your employees brush up on the old concepts and learn the latest best practices.

8. Contingency Plan

No matter how well prepared you are, there’s always a possibility of things heading south. You have to be ready with a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario because it’ll help you a lot if you ever need it. Try to create local backups and protocols that’ll be applied companywide in case of an unfortunate scenario just to be on the safe side.

These were some of the various tips that you could implement in your own business to safeguard it against data breaches. These cyber-attacks have become a very common occurrence and it’s an actually worrying trend for the entire world. The methods employed by hackers are getting more sophisticated with each day but the good thing is that cybersecurity measures are keeping pace. However, you can’t just rely on the technology to keep you safe and you need to supplement the security features by being cautious. If you can enforce these rules and do it on a regular basis, you’ll be able to save yourself from possibly huge financial losses.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.