7 Tips and Tricks for Preventing a Data Breach That Could Cripple Your Business
Millions of hack attempts are pitted against government organizations every day.
Your business may not be as big a target as a national institution. You’re kidding yourself though if you think there’s not a bad actor out there, that’s interested in your data.
Preventing a data breach is within your company’s power so long as you make taking proactive safeguarding steps a priority.
If you’re not sure what constitutes proactivity when it comes to safeguarding your data, keep reading. Below, our team steps you through small things you can do today that can make a big difference in your corporate online safety.
1. Require Your Team to Use Strong Passwords
As you install access controls on your company’s computers, work with IT personnel to specify requirements employees must follow. The password requirements you leverage should align with industry-accepted authentication standards.
Typically, that would mean asking for a password that’s at least 8 characters in length. You’ll also want a password that contains numbers and special characters. Depending on the sensitivity of your company’s data, you might also require employees to use two-factor authentication when logging onto their work computers.
2. Mandate Password Resets
A strong password today is a weak password three months from now. That’s because your employees will enter their passwords thousands of times per month. Every time they do, their passwords run the rink of being intercepted.
We’ve also seen people that use the same work password for long periods start using that password for non-work applications (social media for example) further heightening the risk of it getting out.
Requiring password turnovers every three months ensures that old, leaked passwords expire.
3. Consult With IT Professionals Regularly
IT support is invaluable when it comes to preventing a data breach. While we encourage you to find out why IT experts bring so much value to organizations for yourself, we’ll summarize their worth. Individuals that are trained in IT have a heightened sense of where data breaches are likely to crop up and can help you get out ahead of common cataclysmic security lapses.
IT pros also stay on the cutting edge of how hacking techniques evolve, which enables your company to keep ahead of the security curve.
If you can’t afford to have an IT professional available to you year-round, consider consulting with one on at least a bi-annual basis.
4. Push Frequent Updates to Your Systems
One of the most usual ways hackers access data is through software and hardware vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are usually flaws that exist in code hackers can use to slip malicious commands into systems and rob data.
Fortunately, software and hardware manufacturers frequently push out updates to plug vulnerabilities in their products. Those updates only work if you make your team apply them to their machines though.
Forced application of updates can be accomplished with IT team support by locking corporate computer operating systems until selective or all pushed updates have been installed.
5. Discontinue the Use of Unsupported Software/Hardware
As time goes by, software and hardware manufacturers gradually stop supporting their old products. When those products are officially listed as being no longer supported, manufacturers will stop providing updates for them.
That creates serious problems for businesses still using those products.
Vulnerabilities may come to light for unsupported products. When they do, updates will not be there to alleviate those issues leaving businesses forever open to breaches.
Stay mindful of when products are being discontinued and sunset their use in your company as soon as possible.
6. Beware of Social Engineering
A data breach can take place via social engineering the same way it can take place via a traditional hack.
For example, a person at a coffee shop might ask one of your team members if they can borrow their laptop to send an urgent email. If a team member were to comply with that ask, the moment their laptop hits the hands of a stranger, your data has been put at risk.
The best way to avoid social engineering as a means of perpetuating data breaches is to make clear that nobody is allowed to use corporate computers outside of the employee the computer was assigned to.
7. Investing in Training
Knowledge is power when it comes to combating hacking attempts. That’s why so many corporations invest in having third parties come in to conduct training intended to educate teams on where risks exist.
There’s an old saying that says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That couldn’t be more true when it comes to safeguarding your data.
Take the time to share how hackers are acting against businesses with your team members, so they’re ready to defend against those attempts.
Preventing a Data Breach Is Always Within Your Company’s Reach
It seems as though every year we see a slew of big-name companies fall victim to multi-million dollar data breaches. In nearly every one of those cases, a component of negligence enabled the issue. We don’t tell you that to scare you but to hopefully inspire you to take the tips we’ve shared seriously and to always be on the lookout for adversity.
If you’re hungry for more information about how best to survive in today’s digital age, we’ve got your covered. Our digital publication is packed with tips on preventing a data breach, online advertising, and other business tips and tricks.
Keep reading to fulfill your need to know!