In the past few years, dozens of major international companies have fallen victim to catastrophic data breaches ― despite having some of the best digital defenses available. Every day, security professionals create bigger and better barricades to safeguard your precious data, but no matter how much time and money you spend enacting digital safety measures, one day you will be hacked.
Professional security firms assert that 97 percent of all companies have already experienced a data breach. On average, it takes just over 200 days to discover a vulnerability in a security system, even one that is brand-new and contains all the latest features. Security experts contend that the weakest point is human users, who continue to craft ineffective usernames and passwords that hackers easily crack, which is why it’s important to research into using a laps tool and other password strengthening tips. Still, there are many more precautions you can take to ensure that sneaky cyber criminals don’t steal your most valuable information.
Having your data hacked isn’t the end of your life ― or even the end of your business ― as long as you prepare for the inevitable with the following simple security procedures.
Educate Network Users
As mentioned, human error is by far the largest insecurity in any system. Not only do your employees create flimsy passwords, but they may make other dangerous mistakes as well, including remaining logged into their devices, accessing company data over unsafe connections, posting company information on social media, or accidentally downloading malicious software.
The only way to prevent this is to develop a security-minded culture in your workplace, so every employee knows exactly how to behave to uphold security. Monthly meetings to review security rules and procedures will keep digital safety at the forefront of your employees’ minds. Additionally, you can incentivize the completion of various cyber security courses to enhance their knowledge of safe digital behavior.
Trust No One
Even with extra training, your employees will never be 100 percent foolproof. That’s why you need to enhance your security program with features that limit the possibility of mistakes. Two-factor authentication is by far the most practical way to cut back on weak usernames and passwords and thoroughly protect your network and data. Usually, the authentication process relies on two of the following three options.
- A physical object: such as a card, key, or token
- A secret: such as a PIN or password
- A physical characteristic: such as voice, fingerprints, iris pattern, or typing speed
Because there are many varieties of two-factor authentication, you can choose the one that works best for your company and employees.
[Read also: Avoid Creating Vulnerable Passwords]
Move to the Cloud
Storing all your information in the cloud isn’t necessarily more secure than hosting it on your own network ― but having a cloud-based backup of all your data is a brilliant way to bounce back fast after your traditional network is compromised by hackers. The reason most IT professionals advise making use of the cloud in this way is the cloud is generally less accessible than your current network. As long as you strictly regulate which employees have access to your cloud storage, you should have a pristine replica of your data to continue business as almost-usual after a data breach occurs.
Keep IT Around
You may be a genius entrepreneur or a brilliant company leader, but you probably don’t have the tech experience (or time) to watch over your security. A hacker can hover unnoticed in a network for weeks before making off with valuable data, but a trained tech professional can spot suspicious activity before it becomes a true digital danger.
It isn’t enough to bring in a professional to install your anti-virus software; you should have at least one IT employee onsite at all times to monitor security and react appropriately to threats.
Establish Breach Protocol
Now that you know you are likely to be breached, you can begin planning procedures to get your business through the incident with minimal damage. You should work alongside a trusted tech expert ― ideally one with a background in data security ― to create response plans for various types of breaches. For example, when a device becomes infected with malware, you must already have a protocol in place for cleaning up the mess: You might discard the device and replace it, or you might have clean-up software to neutralize the threat. With the proper procedures, data breaches become minor inconveniences rather than major catastrophes.
[Image via: Google Images]