Data has become one of the world’s most precious commodities and is worth billions to some companies. Data allows businesses to make informed decisions, to increase their sales and, since they’re working based on facts, pre-empt minor issues before they transform into full-blown crises. Data enables a business to determine its strategy and to find solutions because the managers can see the relationships between different elements of the business and identify the (potential) causes of problems.
Unfortunately, not only businesses are interested in data. Cybercriminals are as well and may launch an attack on a company’s cyber systems. Below is a look at the issue of data breaches, how they occur and what you can do to protect your company against them.
What are data breaches?
A data breach can happen to anyone, whether you’re an individual, a high-flying company or a government. A data breach is the exposure of confidential, sensitive or protected information to someone who isn’t authorised to view it. This breach of security can lead to the unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, access to or unauthorised disclosure of the data.
Often, data breaches occur either as a result of technology or user behaviour. The growth of the internet of things (IOTs) means that computers and devices have become more connected, creating more places for data to slip through. Smart devices have gaping flaws in their security, of which hackers are taking massive advantage.
How do hackers manage to breach companies’ cybersecurity?
There’s a real battle between hackers and cybersecurity companies. The former are constantly developing new ways to hack their way into companies’ systems online, and the latter are constantly building solutions to combat these methods and stay one step ahead of the online wrongdoers. Below are some of the most popular ways hackers try to breach companies cybersecurity:
Phishing is a form of social engineering attack designed to fool a system user into creating a data breach. The hackers may pose as an individual or an organisation you trust. From there, they’ll try to encourage you into providing them with sensitive data.
Brute force attacks
In a brute force attack, a hacker will use software tools to access passwords, working through possible passwords until they guess the right one, which is why it’s important to have a strong password. Weak passwords are easy to crack. Unfortunately for innocent users of the internet, the general improvement in computer speeds makes it possible for hackers to guess passwords faster to commit data breaches.
An operating system, software, hardware or even the servers and network you’re connected to can have security flaws that will have cybercriminals rubbing their hands with glee. They’ll seek out these gaps in security and insert malware into them. Spyware is one way for them to obtain private data without being detected. You may not discover this security breach until it’s too late, so it’s best to tighten up your security as much as possible.
Protecting your business against data breaches
Data breaches can inflict monumental damage on a company, so the best thing to do when they occur is to act as quickly as possible. Discovering and acting upon a data breach isn’t so easy, however. According to some research, it takes around 280 days on average to detect and contain a data breach, in which time the damage is already done. Here are some tips on protecting a business against data breaches:
Businesses and the data they’re handling are changing constantly, so it’s important to audit and evaluate your systems regularly. Are there any new security updates you need to implement? Are employees still following best practices for preventing security breaches?
Set up a virtual private network (VPN) for business
Perimeter 81 business VPN is designed especially for the security and privacy needs of an organisation. Instead of connecting to the internet via an internet service provider (ISP), the VPN creates a secure tunnel between the user and the business’s resources and systems. Any person who has (potential) access to data is a risk. The fewer people have access to a system that contains personal information, the lower the risk. By using the Perimeter 81 platform you can also minimise the risk by creating different levels of user access on the company’s internal systems.
Training employees to use strong passwords and to not give these or sensitive information is an important step. It’s one not a lot of companies take, however, and could prove costly.
The benefits of data protection
Crucially, strong cybersecurity protects valuable data, but it has further business benefits too:
Helps you stay ahead of competitors
Taking care of your clients’ data increases their confidence in you and attracts investment. To keep data secure, you should implement firm polices on data protection and update software regularly.
Better business management
Data protection entails better storage and management of information, which can encourage you to adopt and follow better business practices. Good business ethics will convey the trust a lot of customers are seeking.
Data breaches can have a highly damaging impact on businesses, and the worst thing is they can take a long time to detect and contain, by which time the business will have endured a tremendous amount of damage already. Take action now and tighten up your security to protect your company before it’s too late.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.