When your company is the victim of a data breach, it can be both frustrating and terrifying. A data breach puts financial records and personal information in jeopardy which can lead to identity theft and even leave you drowning in fraudulent charges.
For obvious reasons, a data breach can be very bad news to any company that experiences one. It can lead to a loss of customers and can be a huge financial hit to your organization. A data breach is something you want to avoid at all costs. But in order to avoid them, it helps to know what causes them.
Why does a data breach occur?
One of the most significant reasons why data breaches are so common these days is because cyber thieves are presented with so many access points due to the various devices and networks that connect us. This leaves companies much more vulnerable than ever.
With the rising level of risk and the increasing resourcefulness of hackers, it is more important than ever to be ready to deal with potential threats to your security. This comes by understanding how hackers get in and developing preemptive security measures that deal with the different entry points they may use to discourage a data breach from happening in the first place.
Let’s see what that looks like in practice.
Steps to prevent and minimize a data breach
- Software and firmware: This first level of security includes such things as your antivirus and operating system as well as hardware like modems and routers. You need to be sure that these are well-protected and being updated regularly to help prevent the likelihood of an attack.
- Monitoring: It is also vital that you have monitoring solutions in place for keeping an eye on your systems at every level. Monitoring at the user, application, system, network and database levels is essential to making sure you have all your bases covered and that you are not caught by surprise by a cyber attack.
- Have a plan: Of course, you want to make sure that you have the right systems in place to prevent in incident in the first place but in the event that you do experience a breach, you want to be prepared with a plan. This would include actions such as alerting those affected, changing your passwords and bringing in a security expert.
- Keep perfecting: Never settle for security that is “good enough”. Keep testing and perfecting your security measures, especially as you implement changes to systems and applications.
- Peripheral systems: Do not lose sight of those systems in your periphery. This can include anything from mobile apps to cloud environments. They can be easy to forget about but they can also be an easy target to hackers so don’t neglect to keep these systems protected.
- Purge your data: Don’t hang onto data that is no longer needed. Make sure you are purging your systems regularly of any unnecessary data. Making sure you are keeping your stored data to a minimum is an effective measure to take in making sure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
- Choose the right cloud service: Another vital step in ensuring you have efficient security is choosing the right cloud service. An important consideration when doing this is making sure they have good backup and disaster recovery plans. Knowing your cloud service well and the plans that they have in place is necessary to avoiding a data breach from happening to your company.
- Follow the PCI Compliance Standards: Most of the hard work has already been done to help businesses secure cardholder data, such as the 12 mandated PCI DSS Standards. These standards set forth how cardholder data must be isolated and stored, following the PCI standards gives your company a good bedrock to build upon.