These cybersecurity security breaches are becoming more commonplace. It is a mystery to consumers why this happens. Every company should take data security seriously. Data breaches can cause reputational damage and cost companies millions of dollars.
Target’s 2013 data breach made it difficult for shoppers to return to the retailer to shop after the incident. Target has lost over $90 million due to the breach, and it’s impossible to quantify the damage to their reputation. Like many brick and mortar stores across the country, Target stores are already feeling the effects of the growing consumer trend to shop online for everything. Numerous surveys have shown that customers are less likely to shop online in smaller stores. It is generally believed that bigger stores are more secure.
This theory was definitely questioned after JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s biggest banker, lost the personal information of 76,000,000 of its customers. These breaches undermine public trust and lead to consumers abandoning online business.
How can you prevent this from happening in your company? Are we really all safe today? We will discuss six proven methods to keep your company safe from data security breaches.
Methods to Prevent Cybersecurity Breaches
Restricted access to your most important data
In the past, all employees had access to every file on their computers. Companies are now learning the hard way to restrict access to their most critical data. There’s no reason that a mailroom employee should have access to customer financial information. Limiting who can view certain documents will reduce the chance of employees clicking on harmful links. As corporations look to the future, they will see all records divided up so that only those who need them can access them. This is a common-sense solution that companies should have been using all along.
Third-party vendors are required to comply.
Every company deals with many third-party vendors. It is more important than ever that you know the identities of these vendors. Even strangers can enter companies’ premises and cause them to be sued. What if the man who delivers office supplies has just been released from prison? This is something to consider. Also, limit the documents vendors can see.
Although these precautions can be annoying for IT departments, they could save you a lot of money in the event of a data breach. If you allow companies to see your data, insist on transparency. Do not assume that they will comply with privacy laws. Background checks should be requested for any third-party vendors that will need to enter your company on an ongoing basis. If they want to drive change, CEOs must be more strict about security.
Conduct security awareness training for employees.
Recent surveys show that employees are the weakest link of the data security chain. Despite receiving training, employees still open suspicious emails that could contain viruses every day. Employers make the mistake of thinking that just one cybersecurity class is sufficient. Schedule regular classes every quarter or monthly if you are serious about protecting your data.
Employees have been known not to think twice about opening suspicious emails, and they can leave classes without thinking twice. Marketing studies have shown that people must hear the same message at most seven times before they begin to change their behavior.
Regularly update your software.
Professionals recommend that all operating systems and anti-virus software be kept up-to-date to improve computer security. Make sure to install patches as soon as possible. Programs that aren’t regularly updated and patched can make your network vulnerable. Microsoft now offers a Baseline Security Analyzer, which can check that all programs are up-to-date and patched regularly. This is an easy, cost-effective and affordable way to strengthen your network and prevent attacks from happening.
Create a plan for cyber-attack response.
What would you do if a data breach occurred at work? Surprisingly, very few companies have a solid breach response plan. They either don’t think they will need one in the near future, or they believe they are capable of handling it. This thinking is a huge mistake. Large companies that had cybercriminals steal data were often slow to disclose this information. They also resisted telling the truth about how much and what data was stolen.
It was very poor management of the government’s OPM breach-in. It took months before FEMA announced the breach. They downplayed the severity of the breach and provided incorrect information on how many records were compromised. The true nature of the breach was not revealed until several years later.
This is unacceptable for consumers. Consumers feel that they have the right to know when and how much information was stolen. Although it took many years to discover the truth, over 21 million records were hacked. Many of the records contained names, addresses, and fingerprints.
Employer and employees can both understand the possible damages by creating a comprehensive breach plan. Employers should be open about the extent of the breach to employees. An effective response plan will prevent lost productivity and negative publicity. When employees learn that their company had a data breach six years ago, they feel angry and they were not told.
The evaluation of what was lost and how it happened should be the first step in your response plan. Whenever possible, find out who is to blame. You can minimize damage and restore trust between the public and employees by taking quick and decisive action.
Passwords are difficult to crack
Businesses were not often involved in the issue of how frequently employees needed to change their passwords. Cyberattacks have made this all possible. One thing IT support professionals will emphasize to employees when they visit your company to teach them is how to change passwords regularly. The public is well aware of the importance of passwords being difficult to crack. We have learned to use special characters, numbers, and uppercase letters when creating passwords on our computers. It’s important to make it difficult for thieves to steal your stuff.
Your customers will be reassured
For American companies, online shopping is now worth more than $80 billion. Online shopping is a favorite among people. It’s so simple and convenient. Online sales were bright until data breaches at Amazon and eBay ruined that outlook. Recent consumer surveys across America have shown that 56% of Americans are reluctant to shop online due to the possibility of their personal information being stolen. This amounts to millions of dollars in lost sales.
Companies have created marketing campaigns to assure shoppers that shopping online is safe. It can take many years to regain the trust of the public after it has been lost. Customers may feel more comfortable buying from your company if they see that you are doing everything possible to prevent cyber theft.