6 Ways to Protect your Organization from a Data Breach
Jun 21, 2018
There are many risks that can affect an organization’s business operations, which can cause a loss of profits or reputational damage. Most often leadership is thinking about managing the risk of labor shortage or supply chain, as these risks are easily seen and directly impact the organization’s financial posture. Rarely does a leadership team think about cyber risk as a primary business risk that would affect their organization and business operations.
However, hackers have become extremely smart and organizations are no longer safe from a data breach. This means it’s imperative for leaders to take cyber risk into account when assessing business risks. Data breach prevention means protecting your business’s data and assets, therefore protecting profits and reputation.
Data Breach Prevention: 6 Strategies
According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 2017 had a record high of 53,000 data breach incidents and 93% of cases where data was stolen, systems were compromised in minutes or less. It’s time to face the facts and take better precautions to safeguard your data. In this article, we will review six different ways you can minimize cyber risk and protect your organization from becoming a victim of a data breach.
1. Create and Enforce Policies & Procedures
It’s important for organizations to create policies and procedures that outline steps employees should take to safeguard information. The purpose of these policies and procedures for cybersecurity is to minimize the cyber risk that comes with human error.
All humans make mistakes, but the consequences of a mistake can lead to a security incident. It is noted that human error is cited in 95% of all security incidents. Even a simple phishing email can cause a data breach in a matter of seconds. Common mistakes that can lead to security breaches include:
- Clicking on unknown emails or downloading unknown files
- Not disposing of sensitive documents properly
- Sending emails with sensitive information unencrypted
Any policies and procedures put in place should communicate to employees what they should or should not do and will help instill a culture of information security at an organization.
2. Implement Third-Party Risk Management Strategies
Many businesses work with third-party vendors. However, it’s important to instill strong contractual agreements that outline data governance and what information third-party providers will have access to. These contracts are another way to protect your organization’s sensitive data from potential incidents including those resulting from mistakes or even attacks.
Additionally, perform your due diligence by reviewing third-party vendors’ audit reports to ensure they are following information security best practices and are in compliance with security standards. Consistent monitoring and communication with vendors will assist in mitigating any cyber risk that comes from working with outside vendors who have access to your organization’s data.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication and Encryption
Hackers can breach an organization’s systems or devices fairly easily if there are no additional security measures. Two security measures every organization should put in place are multi-factor authentication and encryption. Enforcing multi-factor authentication and encryption security best practices makes it harder for the hacker to retrieve access. Encrypting emails and documents and requiring more than one form of authentication on all devices, will provide greater data breach protection during data transfer and from attempts of stealing credentials.
4. Conduct a Vulnerability and Gap Assessment
The best way to minimize cyber risk is to know what areas of weakness lies in your organization. Conducting a vulnerability and Gap assessment allows you to see which areas need improvement to more data breach prevention to stop breaches from occurring in the future. Based on qualitative and quantitative cyber controls, the final assessment report will allow your executive and IT team to see where and how you can enhance your security posture to reduce and mitigate cyber risks.
5. Security Awareness and Training
As mentioned above, human error is a leading cause in security incidents which can result from situations such as lost devices, and data leakage through insecure email practices or other systems. Organizations should instill a cyber security awareness program that educates its employees on cyber risks such as social engineering and phishing scams, utilizing personal devices for business use, connecting to public WiFi, reporting on security incidents, and more.
Set up trainings once or twice a year to keep veteran and new employees up-to-date on best practices for keeping data, and ultimately the business, protected.
6. Real-Time Monitoring and Alerts
They say it’s better to be proactive than reactive, and conducting real-time monitoring on cyber risks and suspicious behavior allows you to stay ahead of a possible data breach. As data breaches and security incidents become the norm, installing real-time threat analytics to defend against threats such as ransomware and phishing will allow your organization greater visibility to limit risk and liability.
Data Breach Protection is Everyone’s Responsibility
We now live in a world where data breaches and security threats are a recurring part of day to day global business, and the responsibility of managing a cyber security program is no longer solely relied upon the information technology (IT) team. As cyber risk becomes more dynamic and enterprise wide, organizations will need to enhance their cyber security programs and become proactive to prevent data breaches from occurring.
Secuvant offers various cyber risk management services for all organizations and industries. Our Cyber7™ approach takes into account an organization’s business goals and creates a strategy tailored to you. With our services, we can help educate employees and protect your systems from security threats such as a data breach. If you have any questions about cyber security or our services, contact us today. One of our experts will be happy to help you find the best fit for your business.