Data breaches occur when third parties gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. Cybercriminals can access sensitive company data using a range of methods, including remotely infiltrating corporate IT networks or physically accessing on-premise computers.
Cybercriminals use the data they obtain for nefarious reasons, from disclosing company secrets to finding out personal information about people or customers. Data breaches gain much negative publicity when they occur and they often lead to costly litigation issues for the companies that fall victim to them.
Successfully preventing data breaches is imperative at any modern business. As more cybercriminals realize how lucrative company data can be in the right hands, breach attempts will only grow in popularity. Read on for five ways to prevent data breaches at your business.
1. Develop a Data Hierarchy
You need to understand the different categories of data residing on your company's IT systems and appropriately prioritize this information. Your data hierarchy needs to outline the categories of sensitive information and the potential impact on your business if that data was exposed during a breach. Developing a data hierarchy establishes the groundwork for knowing what type of information requires the most stringent data security measures to protect it.
2. Train Employees in Data Privacy and Security
Employees can easily become your weakest links when preventing data breaches if you don't provide them with the necessary training. Each employee with access to sensitive information should understand some basic best practices for keeping data secure. You should also train employees to spot data security threats and report them to the person in charge of responding to IT security incidents at your business.
3. Use Available Technology and Tools
Every business serious about preventing data breaches needs to implement the latest cybersecurity tools and technologies. Secure sensitive data by encrypting it using industry-standard algorithms, such as the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman encryption algorithm. Have an endpoint protection solution in place that proactively monitors endpoint company devices for threats to your data.
4. Focus on Compliance
In response to increasing privacy concerns and an influx of data breaches in recent years, companies need to meet stricter regulatory requirements in many industries. The recently announced PCI Software Security Framework attempts to improve the security of payment card software. By focusing on meeting the compliance requirements specific to your company's industry, you already have many processes and tools in place to combat and prevent data breaches.
5. Have a Robust Breach Response Plan
A robust response plan ensures that your business swiftly deals with any data breach to limit its impact on both customer trust and your balance sheet. A proper plan clearly designates roles and responsibilities for dealing with data security incidents in the most efficient way.
As individuals and businesses have become more reliant on technology, the number of data breaches occurring has risen over time. Adequate investment in a data protection strategy is of paramount importance for businesses of all sizes to protect themselves and their customers. Follow these tips and you'll improve your ability to prevent and minimize the damage from third parties trying to access sensitive data.