When most people think of security, the image of a portly guard or an alarm system that was installed in the late 90’s might come to mind. As businesses began to operate online, storing and sharing crucial data on their networks, the world of security shifted to include everything electronic. Your intellectual property, financial figures, trade secrets and personal information are all vulnerable to cyber breaches and what needs to be your businesses top security priority moving forward.
What is a Cyber Breach?
A cyber breach or a data breach is an intentional or unintentional discharge or private information to an unsecured, usually external, environment. You may have also heard such a breach referred to as a data spill or leak. Most cyber breaches are associated with criminal activity but have also been linked with political affairs and government turmoil.
Is Your Business a Target for Cyber Breaches?
Many business owners make the mistake of believing that hackers and cybercriminals are only looking to access large companies and famous individuals. You may remember some of the largest data breaches of all time such as Yahoo’s exposure in 2013 which results in the personal information of 3 billion users to be shared. A year later, eBay suffered its own cyber attack that exposed over 145 million user’s personal information. You might not be managing a company as large as eBay but the risk level is just the same, if not higher.
Larger corporations have entire teams working day and night helping to protect the information that flows within the network- when was the last time your company discussed or invested in its cybersecurity systems?
Every day, thousands of small business are attacked and breached, suffering thousands to millions of dollars in damages. Why would a hacker turn their attention to a small business or individual? Lack of protection and knowledge.
8 Ways to Protect Against A Cyber Breach
Simply by making your coworkers and employees aware of the fact that a cyber breach is a real threat, you will be much better prepared. If everyone is being conscious of the threat, they will be much less likely to open that suspicious email or send sensitive information to outside parties by mistake.
Utilize systems and check-list- Generating and implementing checklists for departments that deal with your IT system and valuable data can eliminate a large portion of human errors, especially when repetitive tasks are involved. Large banks and insurance companies have been using this technique for years, efficiently eliminating the number of mistakes made each year.
Partner with a specialist
You might be a lawyer, an accountant or a real estate broker, a true specialist in your field, but likely don’t have experience in cybersecurity or IT. If you are looking to drastically decrease the odds of a breach occurring, partner with a company such as TOPS that focuses on protecting companies from cyber threats every single day.
Don’t Bring Personal Data into the Office
All business owners and managers should have separate emails and devices for their work and their personal activities. When an employee uses their own equipment, the likelihood of uploading or accepting sensitive information drastically increases.
It has never been easier for a cyber attack or breach to occur, which is why your organization must do everything in its power to protect its data. Encrypting sensitive data that is flowing in and out of your information is mandatory. Again, this is an area that an IT professional can assist you with.
Restrict Data Access
All of the data within your organization does not to be shared with every employee in the company. By restricting access to sensitive information to those who actually require it, you drastically reduce the overall risk. Owner and head managers must be weary as to who has access to vital documents. It has never been easier to accidentally share sensitive data as a device syncs or access is granted to a folder.
Vet Those Who You Work With
As a business owner or manager, you can take steps to protect the data that is flowing within your walls but it’s very difficult to know what happens when you send your data to others. Once you understand the best practices of cyber security you can ask potential vendors and partners certain questions that will immediately give you insights into their vulnerabilities.
Unsure what to ask? If you are partnering with TOPS, your IT consultants will be walking you through every single detail you need to be aware of.
8. Ensure Your Information is Truly Deleted
When you drag a folder or a file to your Trash, it’s not necessarily permanently deleted. More often than not, deleted data can be recovered by a skilled cybercriminal with ease. The only way to make sure that old deleted information is erased forever is to overwrite it. Many companies have thought their sensitive information was securely deleted only to discover an unpleasant surprise when they were hacked down the road.
Ready to fully protect your business and thwart off future data breaches?