Best ways to prevent a data breach 

In 2020, there were over 1,000 data breaches in the US. That’s a lot when you consider that the average cost of each one is $8.64 million.

So if you don’t want to risk your company going bankrupt or having a lawsuit on your hands, it’s a good idea to take cybersecurity seriously. Yes, disasters happen. But there’s a lot you can do to prevent them as well. 

Here are 9 things every business should do to avoid a data breach or leak:

Identify critical data

First, it’s important to distinguish sensitive from nonsensitive data. For example, where does your company store its passwords, bank data, and employee information? 

Find out and mark this data as critical. Anything that doesn’t fall into this category can be assigned another label.

Restrict user access

Next, restrict user access to confidential data. The more people have access to it, the higher the risk of a data leak. So only give access rights to those who absolutely need it. 

And remember to always remove access from ex-employees as soon as they leave the company. That way, you don’t have to worry about a disgruntled employee taking their anger out on the company by abusing its data.

Install security software

Every business should implement a robust set of security software. This includes firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware solutions. 

In addition, companies should install data activity monitoring (DAM) software to look for suspicious activity and data loss protection (DLP) to help the business prevent any data breaches or at least minimize their damage. 

Encrypt data

A lot of data gets shared online these days. To ensure it doesn’t get misused, encrypt it. Whether it’s email or instant messaging, your data should be encrypted so that it will be useless in the wrong hands. Using a VPN with your Wi-Fi network will help with this.

Train employees

The biggest cause of data breaches is human error. That means mistakes by employees. So hold regular security training, in which you go over the following:

  • How to create a strong password and change it regularly
  • Common cyber security threats like phishing 
  • How to share files safely
  • Best safety practices when working with third-party businesses

There’s a lot more you can add to the list. The important thing is to have these pieces of training on a regular basis so the concepts stay fresh in everyone’s minds.

Set up 2FA or MFA

Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an added layer of security. Usually, it involves getting a digital code or push notification to your phone to verify your identity. It’s more secure than using only a password.

Backup information to the cloud

Backup business data to the cloud in case it ever gets lost, damaged, or stolen. Then you’ll always have an extra copy to recover data. 

With the right cloud provider, you can even automate regular data backups so you don’t have to think about it. Better safe than sorry.

Update software regularly

Softwares tend to regularly roll out version updates. When this happens, you should update yours because outdated software is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

Reevaluate and adapt

Lastly, reevaluate your data security measures regularly. If you find any vulnerabilities, address them quickly. Or if you find that some practices aren’t working as intended, change them.

The key is staying on top of current data security trends, adapting and improving. If you can do that, you’ll be better prepared for a cyber attack than 99% of other companies.

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