Data breaches are every organization’s worst nightmare, and they are getting bigger and more damaging all the time. It is no longer just millions of users whose personal data is compromised at a time, but billions of users. That is tantamount to ever-growing financial repercussions.
Preventing data breaches requires more than securing your network perimeter. Insider threats are just as concerning due to the constant threat of hijacked user accounts. Traditional lockdown security approaches do nothing more than combat such threats while slowing down and frustrating your customers and employees.
Suffice it to say, in data security, businesses just can’t afford to do business as usual. So, how can you keep your organization’s network and systems safe? Here are some ways:
Keep Software Up-to-Date
Professionals with CIPP certification will suggest that the first step is to ensure that all operating systems and IT software are patched with the latest security patches from the vendors. Microsoft, among other vendors, releases monthly updates which must be applied as soon as possible. These software and system updates contain patches that resolve the latest known vulnerabilities and exploits.
Install Anti-Virus Protection Software
The next layer of protection against cybersecurity risks is to ensure you have an up-to-date antivirus (AV) protection software. Most antivirus protection suites are updated regularly with the latest fixes to security exploits, ensuring systems are as secure as possible against virus outbreaks. If a virus infiltration is detected, the software will simply intercept and quarantine the virus, preventing the virus from spreading onto other systems.
Back-up Critical Data
For companies, there is a much greater scope of mitigation activities which must be completed to help mitigate cybersecurity risk and protect data. It is essential to have a proven system backup strategy. This strategy creates backup copies of your systems which you can roll back to in case of major issues. Implementation of full system backups across the organization’s systems as part of a security-first strategy may involve hefty costs; thus, it is always advisable to have buy-in from the senior leadership team of your company.
Invest in Security Training for Employees
If your organization conducts operations or stores data online, it is highly recommended that your employees regularly attend and complete security training initiatives, as well as acquire credentials such as a CIPP certification. Continuous employee education arguably has the biggest impact on protecting data and information systems.
These kinds of training should typically include information about the latest security trends such as spyware, phishing, rootkits, ransomware, denial of service attacks and viruses. Educate your users on how to identify fake URLs and attachments with bogus macro-codes embedded within, as these can be used to obtain data from a compromised system. Education needs to cover the entire company from the top down; thus, it often involves a significant investment in time, money, and effort, although the enhancement in the level of security it provides are priceless.
Identify Security Threats, Make a Plan, and Learn from Mistakes
A lot of these steps will help you to identify and discover vulnerable technology assets, and as you proceed through the implementation of your security strategy, ensure that everything is well-documented and that the documentation is regularly updated. Once external and internal threats have been identified, it is important to make a plan of how to prepare of the worst-case scenario, like a data breach of confidential information. Consider how you would respond to the incident; what tactics you’d employ to identify and tackle the problem; and above all, work out a plan and strategy to learn from any mistakes made.