A data breach can happen to any business. Even small companies aren’t protected from hackers who might be interested in their data, as long as it’s easy to access and unprotected.
Therefore, it’s crucial to implement sound security measures that can prevent a data breach from occurring. And the good news is that despite the rise in cyber threats, organizations of all sizes can develop a reliable process for staying protected and keeping their data safe.
But to have a better chance of developing a data breach prevention plan, we must first identify what a data breach is and why it can be so costly for your business.
Data Breach: Definition
A data breach is a type of cybersecurity incident that results in an unauthorized party gaining access to your data or systems. It covers a broad range of attacks, including information theft, ransomware, phishing, malware, and a range of other common cyber threats.
In some cases, the primary goal of a data breach is to steal the data itself. Other times, the hackers may use ransomware software to extort money for the data to be released.
However, the ultimate outcome from a data breach is a potential loss of data, damaged reputation, loss of revenue, and a disruption to work. All of which can be very costly to a business of any size.
The Cost of a Data Breach
There’s a reason why companies invest millions of dollars into shoring up their cybersecurity efforts. Even though protecting data from cyber threats can be expensive, the costs associated with suffering a data breach are far more damaging.
In fact, according to some estimates, the cost of a data breach has risen to an average of $4.24 million in 2021, which is the highest number ever recorded.
And because of factors such as the increased number of remote workers, many companies have found it more challenging to maintain cybersecurity measures that would prevent data breaches from occurring.
Unfortunately, monetary damage isn’t the only outcome of a data breach. You also have to consider the reputational damage of such an event, with your audience potentially losing trust in your ability to protect their personal data, which can take many years to repair.
And in industries such as healthcare or financial services, the long-term effects of a single data breach can be felt for as long as three years, which can make it difficult to recover from such an event at all.
Related post: Why You Need a Cyber Risk Assessment
How Can You Prevent a Data Breach?
There isn’t a single solution that can offer complete protection from a data breach. In fact, even implementing all the best practices used today might not completely guarantee the safety of your business from a hacker that’s motivated enough.
But at the same time, hackers usually target companies with easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities, so there are steps you can take to deter hackers from even attempting to breach your data in the first place.
Here are five proven steps you can take:
- Develop a Deterrence Plan. Sometimes, the best strategy against data breaches is not making them impossible but instead making them difficult enough to be not worth the effort. If you continually update your systems, run vulnerability assessment scans, and identify the most significant risks you need to address, you can prevent hackers from targeting your company.
- Use Up-to-Date Security Systems. Another critical step in preventing a data breach is continually updating your security systems. All of your devices, servers, and other digital assets should use capable firewall solutions that offer comprehensive protection from malware, ransomware, and other common risks.
- Backup Your Data. If a data breach were to occur, you need to at least have a way to recover the data. That way, even if the data were to be lost or compromised, you could at least return to regular business activities faster, minimizing the overall damage and reassuring your customers in the process.
- Organize Security Training. No matter what security systems you implement, your employees will be the primary barrier between your company and a data breach. Because of that, you should have regular security training sessions for your team, educating them on the best practices of cybersecurity and the biggest threats they should avoid. At the same time, you should consider running exercises for data breach scenarios, where your response team could go through the challenge in a safe environment and be better prepared when a real threat arises.
- Implement a Modern Authentication System. Authentication is a crucial step in ensuring that only authorized employees can access your company’s data. And that requires a modern solution that can withstand the biggest cybersecurity risks prevalent today. Therefore, it makes sense to consult with experts on choosing the right identity and access management solution for your business, which can provide an additional layer of protection and ensure efficient access control and data breach detection.