While the costs associated with a data breach can vary in magnitude, each will have devastating effects. The short-term impact will include the loss of personal data and valuable customers, as well as the fines levied by regulatory agencies and legal fees. There is also catastrophic long-term impact. Once breached, your brand will be tarnished, resulting in additional long-term losses from exiting employees, partners, customers and investors.
Avoid this nightmare by keeping your business secure by following these steps.
Start by being proactive. This might sound like a cop-out, but it’s a must. Taking the necessary precautions can easily be the difference between safeguarding your data or exposing it to a security breach. The axiom “an ounce of prevention” holds true here. For while there are protocols to follow to shore up a breach, preventative measures are always worth far more to your enterprise’s reputation and financial solvency than the proverbial pound of cure.
Train Your Team. It’s important to have your team on the same page, because your security is only as strong as its weakest link. Educating your team about cybersecurity measures can be one of the best investments you can make, to avoid costly errors that can lead to potential vulnerabilities. For example, mandating that employees utilize long, unpredictable passwords can help strengthen data defenses. The more information that is made available, the more resources hackers can utilize for harvesting the maximum amount of data per breach.
Invest in Talented Professionals. Primarily for large-scale enterprises, investing in the right talent pays off in the long term. This is also true for cybersecurity professionals. Hire a firm with a proven track record that is aware of changing trends, to build an updated security strategy system to thwart hackers.
Keep Business and Private Separate. It’s important to keep your personal, work and banking emails separate. This security tactic significantly lowers the impact that a single security threat can have, since each account would have limited information. For example, if hackers infiltrate your personal email, they wouldn’t be able to access your business account, thus keeping that vulnerable information safe.
Consider EDI Encryption. Encrypting important documents can be a safer alternative to email. The EDI process utilizes cloud storage for a direct computer-to-computer exchange, leaving no room for hackers to intercept valuable information. EDI prevents sensitive documents from getting in the wrong hands, giving business owners true data security regardless of their location.
Place Restrictive Data Access. Data breaches are not reserved for mysterious hackers from faraway places. Employee breaches, or even instances as simple as the mishandling of sensitive information, can create security issues. Make sure to set restrictions for levels of data and keep track of who has access. To put things simply, only permit each employee the information access they need to do their jobs. Anything beyond that is a risk that your business does not need to take.
Cloud Protection for Ransomware. Ransomware is a dangerous and relatively new method that hackers use to infect businesses’ security systems. Essentially it is software designed to take data hostage. Luckily, business owners can back up their data with a secure cloud system to make sure this doesn’t occur. As part of any employee onboarding process, underscore that it’s important to open emails with caution and not to trust anything out of the norm. Once a machine or system is infected, ransomware viruses can be very difficult to remove.
Learn About Safe Data Storage. Storing data in an unsecure location can be enough for someone to hack your network. Consider some safe alternative storage options to ensure your team can access their files from anywhere, yet keep your data safe.
Be aware of the pros and cons of new technologies. For example, more enterprises are integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning tools into their business protocols. These technologies gather and analyze large pools of data to help businesses make forecasts about everything from consumer shopping trends to emerging athletes to watch. Already hackers are utilizing unsecure A.I. and M.L. systems to form connections and locate security weaknesses. The caveat here is to integrate all new technologies into your cybersecurity system, to avoid creating system weaknesses and tvirtually invite a breach.
Michael Lewis is a marketing assistant with Active Web Group.
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