You have every right to be worried about the data breaches in your organization, especially when many businesses have started remote working.
Pandemic and remote working has increased the risk of cyberattacks. The FBI reported that the cyberattacks have increased to 4,000 a day, which is staggering and scary at the same time.
These companies must do everything to prevent any data loss or data breach because when a data breach occurs, it affects the company’s brand and goes into financial losses.
To prevent that from happening, we have compiled a list of to-do things to minimize the risk of data breaches.
How to Reduce the Risks of Data Breaches?
Following are the best practices you need to follow to prevent any data loss or breach:
- Use Encryption via VPN
- Update Security Software
- Risk Assessment at Regular Intervals
- Data Backups
- Staff Training and Awareness
- Ensure Partners Maintain Data Protection Standards
- Dispose of Data Properly
- Third-Party Security Checks
- Limit Disclosure of Non-Sensitive Data
- Avoid Sharing Any Passwords
- Always Access a Secure Website
Use Encryption via VPN
All of the company’s data must be encrypted. The online privacy tool that can help you achieve that goal is a Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a tool that encrypts your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel whenever you are browsing the internet.
It hides your internet traffic and your original IP address. It assigns you with another IP address that belongs to a VPN server. Every hacking starts from your actual IP address that can be easily tracked with your browser’s help. Every website that you interact with knows your IP.
To prevent them from getting your information or hacking your data, a VPN does a perfect job of hiding it and keeping your online data completely anonymous.
Update Security Software
Hackers can easily exploit systems that have the older version of the software. Because it has weak spots, hackers can find loopholes that led them to hack the system quickly.
New software updates are released because either the company needs to introduce new features or fix a security vulnerability. That is why companies are always recommended to update their security software.
If possible, they can turn ON automatic updates so that it immediately installs new software updates.
Risk Assessment at Regular Intervals
A company should also perform risk assessment regularly to check whether their staff is following all the right procedures for data security.
It is also essential to know if the procedures and policies that have been put into place are being followed and are adequate.
It should allow everyone to assess their capacity to follow the best practices and make sure everything is planned.
Data can either be lost or stolen, so it is better to keep a copy of your entire safe place. If employees are using Windows 10 or Mac OS, they have a built-in option on the cloud that automatically creates a backup of your files.
There’s a huge possibility of data breaches within the company. After the pandemic, many data breaches have been reported that have cost companies millions of dollars.
For any company, either small or large, data breaches can be very costly and can easily bankrupt any business. A successful company can quickly turn into a disaster overnight because of financial losses. Their brand image is completely damaged when their customers’ information is leaked.
That’s why always create a data backup and prevent your company from any losses.
Staff Training and Awareness
Make sure that your staff knows the best practices of data security. They should be aware of data security and learn how to avoid mistakes that could lead to breaches.
Make sure you have a detailed checklist of best practices. But if you don’t, make sure you hire people to outline some of the best methods to avoid data breaches.
The staff should be aware of how data breaches occur and how employees become victims. The staff members must know the basics like how to dispose of data, how phishing scam occurs, how malware attacks, etc.
Ensure Partners Maintain Data Protection Standards
It is not just about your own company following the best data protection standards, but it is also about your partners. If your partners are handling customers’ data, you will have to ensure that they follow adequate procedures to protect their data.
Everyone should be working together and have the best system in place to protect against any data breach. Even when deciding or choosing a partner, one should always consider their data protection standards.
If any partner falls prey to cybercriminals, it damages everyone’s reputation in their circle, whether it be partners, suppliers, vendors, employees, and everyone else close to it.
Dispose of Data Properly
Disposing of your data correctly is as important as keeping your information secure. That’s because deleting your data doesn’t typically remove your data from the system.
There are free tools that can help you recover the data with ease. Therefore, you have to write off the data multiple times so that it can’t be retrieved. If an outsider retrieves your data, it could be a disaster for the company. So always properly dispose of the data.
Eraser is a pretty good tool that forever deletes your files from your system. It is a free tool that never allows any software to retrieve the once deleted data.
Third-Party Security Checks
There should be a third-party evaluation that could carry out risk evaluation to see any data breach risks within the company. It will give an outside view of how your company manages data and the company’s operations that involve data security.
Third-party companies can also provide recommendations on how to improve your overall data security and minimize the risk of breaches.
Limit Disclosure of Non-Sensitive Data
Unsolicited phone calls or emails can become a trap to lure employees into telling the hackers about any company information that can result in hackers stealing essential data.
They might also impersonate someone else within the company or anyone among the vendors to ask for sensitive information.
This situation can only be avoided if employees are well trained and not handing out information to outsiders without really confirming the source.
Avoid Sharing Any Passwords
Employees in a company must know that the sharing of passwords is a critical task. They must also not write any passwords on their notes because it is easily traceable.
Even saving it on your computer is a risky task. You might want to buy a good password manager that keeps all your passwords. Mitro is another excellent tool that comes as a browser extension that saves every login detail on every website and protects your online identity.
You won’t need to write any password when you have Mitro installed on your device. It is available on most popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Always Access a Secure Website
Train your employees by telling them to access secure websites that are ‘HTTPS’ and not just ‘HTTP.’
Also, do not download anything free from illegal websites. These websites are full of malware and malicious content that can easily affect your computer performance and compromise your data.
If your company is on the same network, it can affect the entire system if a single computer is compromised. There’s a chrome extension called ‘HTTPS Everywhere‘ that forces a browser to load only secure websites that don’t contain a security certificate.
It also helps in encrypting your communication with the website as well. Email phishing is also prevalent these days, so avoid that at all costs.
If possible, all employees must use Virtru, which is an email encryption browser extension that keeps all of your emails encrypted so that no one can trace or intercept it. But it only works on Gmail and with a chrome extension.
Since the pandemic has hit the world, many companies have opted for remote working, leading to an increase in cybercrimes. Hence, there’s a further need for the improvement of IT infrastructure among small and large companies.
Among the many tips that have been listed in this guide will tell you how to reduce the risks of data breaches, but the one that stands out the most is employee culture. In small companies with a limited budget for IT infrastructure, employee awareness is of much importance.
Employees must know what actions could cause companies to fall into data breaches. Also, all of these employees must have a VPN installed on their device to keep their data encrypted.