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Data breach prevention: 7 strategies to secure your company

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This short guide outlines data breach prevention strategies and cautions to ensure your company and sensitive information is kept secure.

Data breach events are constantly on the rise, ready to catch you out at any given point. We are all vulnerable to the dangers of sharing personal information online, but we’re here to help keep your company’s data safe and secure with data breach prevention strategies.

Every company is at risk of a data breach, whether you’re aware of this fact or not. For some companies, travel is a significant part of their everyday business, which can make these risks even greater. Having to book transport and staying in various hotels all require plenty of sensitive personal details, such as your name, address, card numbers, etc.

These are all important details that can be at risk of a travel or hotel data breach and potentially leave you a target for fraud. But what else is putting your business in danger of a data breach?

With the pandemic causing a work from home era, many businesses are under pressure to increase security and prevent cyber-attacks. From being exposed to phishing emails to workers being tricked by hackers, the risks are constantly around. Data breaches can be an expensive fix, as well as causing a bad reputation for your company. Following our seven data breach prevention strategies below should help support you in avoiding a costly data breach. 

What is a Data Breach?    

The term ‘data breach’ has a scary ring to it, and rightly so; you should be concerned about the risks. A data breach can be significantly damaging for your business, but what actually isa data breach?

In simplest terms, it is where private data has moved from a secure and protected environment into an untrusted environment, exposing sensitive data and the risk of it getting into the wrong hands. The data can be anything from a customer’s personal details to the company’s payment details.

Data Breach Prevention: 7 Strategies

1. Have an advanced security system in place

If you don’t have a security system in place, you’re practically walking into the arms of a possible data breach. The harsh truth is, if it hasn’t happened yet it’s likely about to. You need to make sure to secure and protect your company and itsprivate data.

Ensuring that you have general security in place, such as firewalls, VPNs, monitoring and restriction of traffic, and better architecture, will aid in keeping your company’s details safe. Alongside having a solid security system, you should make sure that any software is regularly updated.

2. Educate your employees on the risks 

More often than not, human error is the cause of a data breach, usually an accidental error made by an employee. You, as the employer, are responsible for ensuring that your employees understand the risks of a data breach and how they can help prevent them.

Your staff need to be provided with the correct data breach prevention training, support, and resources, which will help them understand data breaches better and avoid any human errors from happening. For example, employees should receive training on not clicking unusual links, and they should be informed on who they need to contact should such risk occur. It might also be beneficial to establish protocols surrounding data and security and make all employees aware. 

3. Restrict employee access to sensitive information

Allowing your employees to have access to sensitive information could potentially be a recipe for disaster. Realistically not all your employees will need to have access to sensitive data, especially those whose jobs don’t require them to have access.

Instead, allow only those who do need access to certain data in order to carry out their role. This will help to minimise the risk of any data being leaked.

4. Carry out regular risk assessments

Regular risk assessments are a great way to understand the hazards that your company could theoretically be open to, and strengthen data breach prevention. Once the risks are determined, you can then tackle a way to avoid them from happening. Risk assessments should be carried out on a regular basis, as security and risks can often change quickly. 

5. Have a process for ex-employees

Ex-employees can pose a data breach threat. Their contract should clearly and carefully explain the leaving process of the business, including the handling of company equipment and data. It should also specify confidentiality, depending on the sensitive information that they are aware of, to ensure data breach prevention.

Before they fully exit the business, you should confirm that they do not have further access to any data stored as it can pose a security risk. This could be done through changing passwords, and taking back any devices, like laptops and mobile phones.

6. Accurately file documents

There is nothing worse than documents being filed with random names in random files. Not only will a proper filing system look more professional, but it can also help stop potential data breaches, such as wrongful sharing or accidental deleting of documents.

7. Don’t allow employees to use their own devices 

You don’t know what your employees look at on their own devices. It could be that they download movies off illegal websites, or their personal device is shared with two other people that they live with. Either way allowing employees to access sensitive information on their personal devices could leave your important data unprotected.

With working from home becoming the norm, it’s essential that you also have a data breach prevention plan for outside the office in place. Providing each employee with a company device means that the risks are lessened. 

Don’t Let Your Company be Exposed 

Unfortunately, your business will always be at threat of data breaches because everything is constantly changing and adapting. Ensuring that you are on top of your security by having data breach prevention strategies and keeping employees aware of the dangers, making sure you have the latest security software, and always knowing your risks will help to prevent any misfortunes.

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