According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s “Chronology of Data Breaches”, more than a half a billion breaching cases of sensitive records have been witnessed since 2005. 20% of the breaches have been summoned courtesy of merchants, retailers, and other kinds of businesses that are non-financial and not related to insurance, with most of them falling between the small and midsized businesses range. Here’s another petrifying stat for you: nearly four-fifths of small businesses that have to go through the breach of data go bankrupt or face prodigious financial losses within 24 months of the breach in security. Moral of the horror tale, beefing up your business is absolutely pivotal.
You might not realize it as things stand, but protecting businesses from security breaches is not as difficult as it may sound. Furthermore, it is also considerably cheaper as compared to the cost – financial, physical and emotional – of the repair work.
Top 7 Security Breach Causes
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse claims security breaches normally are caused by one of the 7 following causes:
1. Malware or Hack Attacks: Individuals that aren’t authorized can access your devices and servers, more often than not courtesy of weak firewalls or inadequate passwords, and corrupt data through malicious software like computer monitoring software or cell phone spy software.
2. Disclosing Unintentionally: A person affiliated with your firm, can unintentionally share sensitive information on a website or social media, via email, letter, or fax.
3. Fraud in Payment Card: Information is dug out through a payment terminal or credit card.
4. Discarded, lost, or stolen devices
5. Discarded, lost, or stolen paper documents
6. Bad Employees: One of your employees intentionally leaks or steals sensitive data.
7. Stolen Servers or Computers
The 15 Data Protect Tips
Securing businesses from security breaches isn’t merely about the practice of safe tech. It has got a lot to do with recruitment of the right policy, formulating a robust security policy, and using common sense, from time to time. Confidential and sensitive data can be safeguarded through these 15 steps.
1. Figure out what sensitive data you possess, what its utility is, and where is it located. Make sure you inventory your company’s sensitive data and get documents on which serves and devices the data is stored.
2. Segregate the important data. You need to keep the sensitive data on as few devices as possible, and ensure that those devices are isolated from the network and the rest of the data. As few copies as there are of the data, the easier it will be to maintain its security.
3. Encrypt important data, it becomes especially important if the data is mobile. There is a multitude of data encryption options through databases, applications, or even through security suits. Encryption ensures that even in case of data breach, the actual information would be protected from ultimate compromise.
4. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) can be used to receive or transmit information via credit cards or other such financial data. A secure, encrypted, SSL connection will protect sensitive data, when transactions are undergone via the internet.
5. Make sure you have background checks and two or more references for any employees that you hire. Any criminal record or credit history problem should mean that you should steer clear.
7. Use a strong firewall and a wireless connection that is secure. Make sure you aren’t still using WEP.
8. Make sure your anti-spyware and anti-virus software are updated regularly to counter the threat of computer monitoring software and cell phone spy software. Not keeping your software up to data opens up your data to all kinds of security breaches.
9. Ensure that you beef up your data’s security though strong passwords that are changed on a regular basis. Furthermore, make sure that your devices return to their login screens if there is five minutes of inactivity.
10. Ensure that your company devices only download reliable apps. Applications could easily have spyware, viruses, or even Trojan horses, hence it is absolutely important that you know and trust the application’s source before you download it.
10. Make sure you and your employees only download applications that come from reliable sources. Because applications (e.g., games, mobile apps) may contain viruses, spy ware or Trojan horses, it’s important to know and trust the source of an application before downloading it.
11. It’s a good idea to look the rooms and filing cabinets where the sensitive data is kept, and the keys should only be given to the employees that you trust.
12. Paper shredders can be placed in strategic locations inside the office. One of the biggest cases of the theft of security numbers and credit card information is trash cans.
13. Make sure the devices are properly protected, through password-protection. If any sensitive data is present on the devices, ensure that it is encrypted. Furthermore, every time you take your laptop for an away trip, make sure it is tethered to your smart phone as well.
14. Make sure you vet the security practices of the third party whenever any critical function is outsourced. Don’t be complacent and think that since the critical application is outsourced or information is stored offsite at an ostensibly safer ISP, data center, or cloud provider it is safe and that no precaution is needed.
15. Hiring consultants or outsourcing security could help you ensure that your business is secure.
Natalia David has been a regular contributor as tech writer, expert for some time now. Her work has received great appreciation from readers who turn to her to keep themselves updated with the latest happenings in tech world. You can also follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4
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