Most data breaches aren't the result of a dedicated hacker brute-forcing their way past your best defenses. Many are the result of simple errors that could have been prevented.
In fact, 88% of breaches are caused by human error rather than dedicated hackers brute-forcing their way past your best defenses.
Educate yourself and your employees on basic best practices to guard against cybersecurity threats and data breaches.
So, what is a data breach, and when can it happen?
A data breach is a security violation, in which sensitive, protected, or confidential data is accessed, stolen, or altered by unauthorized person(s). It can happen anytime even if you follow the standard cybersecurity best practices, because attackers are constantly developing new methods to exploit your systems.
Keeping up with these threats by training employees and regularly auditing processes is essential. Even simple best practices like requiring employees to use strong passwords and not sharing passwords can reduce the risk of a data breach.
Incorporate a requirement to use passwords, a thumbprint, or other biometrics for security access. Also, consider requiring that employees store their laptops in a secure area.
But that is not all you can do to safeguard your data.
Strategies to Safeguard Your Data
Here are some more tips, strategies, and best practices to keep your data safe and protect against data breaches:
Data breaches cost businesses millions and can lead to financial loss, regulatory penalties, and reputational damage. While it is impossible to protect against all cyberattacks, some steps can help prevent a data breach.
One of the most effective measures is encryption. Encryption scrambles data files into secret code that only those with the decryption key can read. This makes it nearly impossible for unauthorized parties to access confidential information.
Encryption can protect data at rest (stored), in transit, and during backups. It is a crucial component of any data security strategy.
Whether it's images of a vacation or a semester's worth of homework, most people have data on their computers and mobile devices that are too valuable to lose. Backups help prevent data loss and provide a fast recovery option should the system be compromised.
Ideally, backups should be stored offsite to avoid the risk of cyberattacks and natural disasters, which can cause local backups to be lost or destroyed.
Additionally, if a blockage is the target of ransomware, it may be deleted, rendering it useless. Backups should be regularly tested to ensure they function correctly and identify technology issues that must be addressed.
Backups can be full backups that duplicate everything on a device or incremental backups that only save files that have been changed since the last full backup. Both should be made regularly to minimize the time between backup copies and to reduce the risk of losing information due to data corruption or malware.
Depending on industry standards and compliance requirements, businesses might also need to adhere to retention regulations that dictate how long specific files must be kept.
3. Access Control
Any organization whose employees connect to the internet needs robust access control. This includes those working from home, on their mobile devices, and at other company endpoints. The more people access sensitive data, the higher the risk of a cyber-attack.
Access control systems protect data by verifying the identity of users attempting to log in or make transactions. This is known as authentication.
However, it's important to note that authentication alone isn't enough to prevent a data breach. It must be followed by authorization, determining whether the user should be allowed to access specific information.
It's also essential to review and update access policies regularly. New employees join the workforce, and old ones move on. It's vital to keep up with changing regulations. The best way to do this is to use an access management system that enables administrators to set policies for the resources, data, and strategies they manage. This will ensure that users only have the permissions required for their responsibilities and that those privileges are not shared with anyone else.
No business, regardless of size or industry, can afford to lose its reputation and suffer financial loss after a data breach. Not only are companies forced to pay hefty fines for exposing private information, like credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, but they also face the incalculable damage of having their reputation lost.
Aside from high-level security measures, a robust data breach prevention strategy must include employee training. Employees should know how to spot and avoid common cybersecurity threats, such as downloading malware from websites, not deleting files from a work computer or external hard drive, and leaving unsecured devices around.
Of course, no top-to-bottom security strategy will prevent all attacks, as cybercriminals are always learning new techniques and ways to exploit vulnerabilities. So, companies must continually audit and reevaluate their processes to ensure they do everything possible to protect data.
A good asset inventory is a crucial step in this process, as it allows organizations to see how they are protected and what areas need improvement.
When sensitive data breaches occur, forensics teams must be ready to respond. In addition to deploying a team of cybersecurity experts, they should have access to robust tools, such as Falcon Insight (Crowdstrike). These tools can help organizations gain visibility into their endpoints, detect and block attempts to exfiltrate data and support forensic analysis of detected events.
When it comes to preventing data breaches, training employees is essential. Training them to recognize phishing attacks, weak passwords, and other social engineering tactics that cybercriminals use is crucial. It is also necessary to have systems that allow employees to work from home without risking their company information.
Data breaches can still happen even with the best security measures in place. These are a reality of running a business in a hyper-connected world, but they can be prevented by having the right tools and remaining vigilant and updated at all times.
By following the aforementioned strategies and best practices, companies can mitigate the risk and keep their customers' information safe. The cost of not doing so can be very high financially and for the company's reputation.