6 Ways to Protect your Organization from a Data Breach

Jun Thu, 2018

6 Ways to Protect your Organization from a Data Breach Image

Preventing a Breach

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, but hackers have become extremely smart and no longer are organizations safe from a data breach.

 

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.

See also: 10 Ways Inadequate Cyber Security Can Impact Your Business

1. Create and Enforce Policies & Procedures

It’s important organizations create policies and procedures that outline steps employees should take to safeguard information. The purpose of policies and procedures for cybersecurity is to minimize the cyber risk that comes with human error, communicating to employees what they should or should not do. It is noted that human error is cited in 95% of all security incidents and a simple phishing email can cause a data breach in a matter of seconds.

2. Implement Third-Party Risk Management Strategies

Instill strong contractual agreements that outlines data governance and what information they will have access to. Additionally, perform your due diligence by reviewing their 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 system or device easily. 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 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 prevent a data breach 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 cybersecurity 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.

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, instilling real-time threat analytics to defend against threats such as ransomware and phishing will allow your organization greater visibility to limit risk and liability.

 

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 cybersecurity 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 cybersecurity programs and become proactive to prevent data breaches from occurring.