How to Make Sure You Are Safe From a Data Breach

Mar 20, 2019 1:05 PM ET

Truth be told, you cannot ever be 100% sure this type of crime will not happen to you. However, you could feel at ease most of the time knowing that you have done everything in your power and employed all the most contemporary services so as to protect the information vital for your business. Otherwise, the aftermath could be disastrous – depending on the size of your business, the consequences may be long-term and even result in you losing your reputation and faithful customers.

Therefore, in order for your biggest fears not to come true, here is a to-do list of the activities which have to be done with the aim of protecting your invaluable data.


Formal training

First of all, your employees have to be aware of the cyber dangers lurking out there and what they have to do to protect the company. That means that if you have established the rule of changing the password every month, it has to be followed without any exceptions. This is just one example, but there is a long list of do’s and don’ts which has to be obeyed. To this end, organize employee training, and make sure all the new employees are obliged to attend it, too. Internal factors are often overlooked when discussing data breaches, but they are just as important.

Extra strong password

As we have already mentioned, your employees have to be aware of the rules regarding what makes a strong password. The simplest steps are often overlooked but don’t count on hackers to make the same mistake. Also, secrecy is not an option – it is obligatory.

Updated antivirus software

While for some it goes without saying, it has to be emphasized for the others. Simply buying the best possible protection at the moment will not suffice unless it is regularly updated. Just as new protection systems are invented continually, so are the ways to overcome them. It is a never-ending battle between hackers and security software, in which you had better gain some advantage if you wish for your business to run seamlessly.

Segment your networks

No matter the size of your business, you should break it into segments, and protect every part accordingly. Network segmentation helps you fight potential threats and prevents them from making horizontal progress across your network. Therefore, every segment is to have proper multiple protection, not just the “most important one”.

Similarly, you can limit the Wi-Fi connection in your company. Basically, each office should have its own Wi-Fi password. This way, you are limiting your employees to use only the network designated for their area. The reason why this is important lies in the fact that it is perfectly possible, and quite probable, for that matter, that a hacker is going to attack you via your Wi-Fi network. Nevertheless, if the network has access to only one limited department, that makes it harder for them to cause any further damage.

Risk assessment

To truly know where your company stands in terms of internet security and what loopholes you may be completely unaware of, it is highly recommendable to conduct a risk assessment and evaluate just how excellent/poor your data breach protection really is. Ethical hacking, i.e. penetration testing can be a real eye-opener, especially since you are going to endure several different types of penetration testing in order to identify your weakest points. This will give you great insight and help you decide on the most immediate changes.

Behavior-based security tools

The aim of these tools is to identify any suspicious behavior which may occur, and more importantly, to identify any repetitive patterns, which are usually the “red flags” when it comes to hacking. The essence of hacking is constant attempts to penetrate the protection. By installing the right security tools, you will be able to notice and eliminate the threat on time, before any data leaks.

A wolf in third-party clothing

When discussing cyber attacks, it is usually presumed that they come from the outside. However, it should not be neglected that data theft is the basis of industrial espionage, and you should minimize the risks by allowing access to the sensitive data to only a handful of trusted employees.

What is more, businesses tend to overlook that their clients may also be victims of hacking attacks, especially if we are talking about small businesses, which are a relatively easy target for experienced criminals looking to catch the bigger fish. For this reason, your anti-hacking programs and software should be just as cautious when it comes to files coming from small companies as when they are dealing with requests from individuals. Third-party suppliers are to be closely monitored.

To cloud or not to cloud

Lastly, here is a method which is somewhat arguable. On the one hand, it is recommendable to store your data on the cloud if you are a small business since your internal servers are still far from exquisite. In addition, cloud providers do their best to protect all the uploaded data. On the other hand, some may argue this makes the data more likely to be abused. It’s up to you to decide.

In the end, in order to minimize the possibility of any data breach and its consequences, do take into consideration both the human and the IT aspect. Only in this way are you going to rest assured you have done everything in your power to repel the persistent attacks.

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