Cybersecurity has evolved into an essential aspect for companies, as the data they collect, store, and manage has become one of the most valuable and vulnerable assets in today’s digital economy. Businesses collecting an increasing volume of data need to be prepared, as the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches increases at an alarming pace.
Companies need to take measures against external threats like malware or phishing attacks as well as against internal threats such as employees intentionally or unintentionally sharing data with unauthorized persons. Data is a key input for growth, differentiation, and maintaining your company’s competitive advantage. Thus, protecting it is necessary not only for legal or ethical reasons but also for safeguarding the reputation of your business and issues related to personal privacy.
The sudden shift to work from home (WFH) due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many doors for cyberattacks and data breaches. In the absence of a controlled office environment, remote work can make your company data more vulnerable. Malicious outsiders can easily exploit the chaos, targeting sensitive infrastructures amid the pandemic. Employees, freed from the restrictive policies of company networks, might take security practices less seriously and endanger the data they take home with them.
As cyberattacks and security breaches make headlines way too often, you need to ensure that sensitive information is protected adequately. Security measures should include policies, strategies, and tools in order to efficiently prevent data loss, data leakage, and data theft. Sensitive data that must be protected includes personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, credit card numbers, and email addresses of both customers and employees, as well as intellectual property (IP) and trade secrets of your company.
Let’s see the most efficient tips that can help to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.
Train Employees on Security Awareness
Without security awareness, your employees present a major vulnerability and can be the weak link in the data security chain. In the age of WFH, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), employees can put sensitive data at risk easier than ever. They need to be trained on security best practices and the right behaviors in cybersecurity and data privacy, specific to your industry and company. They need to be aware of the importance of data security and the repercussions that a data breach can cause. Your employees should also have the know-how to detect different threats, avoid leakages, and be empowered to report potential incidents.
Access to sensitive information needs to be limited on a “need to know” basis and employees should be aware of their responsibilities and accountabilities when using a computer on a business network. As cyberattacks are continuously changing and evolving, you should update security policies regularly.
Invest in Security Technology
Besides traditional perimeter and network security such as firewalls and antivirus systems, companies need to include technology to identify and monitor internal security threats too. Encryption standards and a backup policy are crucial, as well as ensuring that security software is updated and patched regularly. Investing in cyber insurance can protect you and your business from unexpected data loss and hacking.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions such as Endpoint Protector can help your company to mitigate insider threats, reach compliance with data protection regulations and safeguard sensitive data such as PII and IP directly. In this way, the risk of a data breach is considerably reduced. With a DLP solution, you can restrict employees from sharing or transferring confidential information and control or block the use of unauthorized devices.
Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
Vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying, classifying, and prioritizing security threats as well as determining the risks they pose to your organization. When performing one, you should take into account all aspects of data, including data storage, BYOD strategy, remote access, and ensure that policies and procedures are appropriate.
By detecting vulnerabilities on a regular basis and prioritizing their remediation, companies can provide a level of data protection that is required by many different regulations.
Create a Data Breach Response Plan
A data breach response plan helps your business to better deal with cybersecurity incidents, limit damages and restore public and employee trust. The main aim when creating one is to establish roles and responsibilities for employees tasked with managing the breach. Besides, it is important to include a draft notification and to outline the process of investigation.
Response plans are highlighted by data protection regulation too. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, requires companies to respond to data breaches within 72 hours after detection, including gathering information, reporting the breach to the relevant authorities, and informing impacted individuals.
Ensure Compliance with Regulations
The number of data protection laws is increasing year by year, some of them impacting specific countries or territories, like the GDPR or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), while others like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) focusing on specific industries. Each of these is an indication that companies are accountable for how they manage data privacy.
If your organization prioritizes data protection to meet compliance requirements, it has a better chance of preventing data leakage, avoiding fines and reputational issues. Compliance can be easier reached by creating a security strategy that aims to keep data safe from both insider and outsider threats.
By Beata Berecki, Endpoint Protector by CoSoSys