Security breaches seem inevitable. But this doesn't mean you shouldn’t do what is necessary to prevent data breaches from happening. Have strategies in place to bolster security and prevent attacks, as well as tactics for dealing with breaches after they occur.
The important thing to remember is that breaches can happen from all sides. It’s not just about keeping unwanted parties away from data stores or preventing them from accessing sensitive information. It’s also about protecting your data from the inside .
Here’s an alarming statistic - 59% of employees steal proprietary corporate data after they quit or are fired from their job.
Even if nothing unscrupulous is happening and your employees - past and present - are on the up and up, 63% of businesses don’t have a fully developed method to track and control sensitive data. In short, this means they have no idea where their data is going, who is accessing it, or what is being done with it.
If you really want to prevent big data breaches, you’d do well to heed these tips.
1. Encrypt Your Data
Encryption scrambles the data or information and makes it unreadable without a special encryption key. This means that, even if someone were to get ahold of sensitive data, they wouldn’t be able to read it without breaking the encryption. Always encrypt data stores when you have the opportunity. Too many breaches have happened because the company in question left the data vulnerable and unencrypted.
2. Track Your Data
There are software and security tools that allow you to track what is happening on your network. Use them. Employ these tools to identify unauthorized devices or users, and prevent them from regaining access.
3. Educate Your Team
Sometimes breaches happen due to a negligent employee. Provide security training for your team. Make sure everyone understands what the difference between a secure and vulnerable password is. They also need to know proper security and personal data protection measures.
4. Find Better Maintenance Options
While many companies prefer to enlist the help of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), it’s often more beneficial to go with a third-party network maintenance team.
As network maintenance company Worldwide Supply notes on their blog, 'Businesses using an OEM’s hardware and support service face a frustrating choice every time their OEM deems their hardware as outdated. They can either deal with increased service charges or switch their hardware out for the newer models.'
Not only is this expensive in both the short and long term, but migrating data that often offers more chances for that data will be lost or corrupted.
5. Employ Threat Identification Procedures
The best security tools in the world will do you no good if you don’t know how to spot threats or suspicious activity. Your security team should have a process to not only identify and investigate suspicious activity but prevent further harm.
6. Automate Security
Humans are great at what they do, but we all make mistakes. That’s why it’s best to automate services and components crucial for security. This includes server and firewall configurations, traffic monitoring tools and even password checks.
7. Secure Deletion
Even when you delete a file - or empty the recycle bin - it’s possible for someone to recover the data. Make sure you have secure file deletion policies in place. This is the equivalent of shredding paper documents, only it’s a measure for digital files.
8. Restrict or Ban Removable Media
There are many forms of removable media or external storage, including portable hard drives and USB flash drives. They make portable storage devices so small these days it’s easy to conceal on your person or in a bag.
Even when data transfer is allowed, it’s easy to misplace a portable storage device. It’s best to restrict or prevent removable media. Any data transfer that needs to be done can be completed via your internal network behind your security.
9. Devise a Breach Response Policy
Come up with a proper and detailed breach response policy, not just for your security team but for your entire workforce. If and when a breach happens, it’s about locking down your network as fast as possible to prevent further damage. To do this, revoke access from unauthorized users and shut down any and all sources of data leakage. The longer you take to act, the more time hackers have to steal data.
While you can expect security breaches to happen eventually, there’s no reason to make it easier for hackers to target your business. Being proactive with your cybersecurity means less chance for a shutdown that could tank your business processes and leak sensitive customer data. Prevent the likelihood of a breach and ensure that, if it does happen, your data is as secure as possible.