No matter what size your company is or what industry you operate in, chances are good that you utilize a computer network for handling internal data, customer data, or both. That being the case, it’s essential that you take all of the necessary precautions to protect yourself from a data breach. The repercussions of this type of event can be devastating for your company, and the threat is only increasing moving forward.
- Incomplete Training of Employees
Not all data breaches are malicious or intentional, and one significant source can actually be your employees. Without proper training, many employees may not understand the real threat that these events pose and how to recognize potential issues. Phishing emails are a good example of this, and an employee who clicks a link in one can immediately and unwittingly open your network up to all manner of spyware and malware.
To combat this risk, it’s essential to train your employees thoroughly on your company’s policies regarding the use of networked devices and potential sources of threats. Beyond simple policy, however, it’s also helpful for your employees to understand why the various safeguards are in place, and this can help increase compliance dramatically.
This is especially important when you have employees who use their own personal devices for work purposes or who take work-issued devices home with them. They need to understand not to access sensitive information on public wifi, for instance, as well as how to protect sensitive information and systems in the event that the device is lost or stolen.
- Overreliance on Protective Software
The myriad nature of digital threats today means that you can’t rely on merely technical precautions like anti-virus and anti-malware programs or a firewall. These are essential parts of your security system, of course, but they’re not enough to protect you fully, and so you need to take other precautions as well.
- Holes in Network Protection
Protecting physical access to your network is just as important as protecting it from online attacks. That means limiting access to connected devices to only certified employees who need it, as well as restricting exactly what data each employee can access. Ensuring that employees change their passwords regularly is important too, as is changing passwords and revoking credentials immediately when an employee leaves.
On the digital side, you need to be aware of where your data is hosted and stored, along with what security systems and precautions your hosting company takes. You also need to make sure that both endpoints and backend systems like servers are secure, and not just one or the other.
- Not Updating
Another important part of keeping your data as safe as possible involves updating software on a regular basis. Using old or outdated versions of programs and web browsers leaves you without the latest encryption and security systems in place, making it much easier for hackers to access your network. That makes updating software, as well as devices and equipment, an essential step as well.
- Not Having a System
All of the elements above should be part of a structured system you put in place to mitigate your digital risk and protect your data. Taking those steps on their own isn’t enough because it doesn’t ensure that all pieces of the puzzle will be utilized and implemented correctly over the long term. A structured system that dictates who has access to what, what training employees receive, who is responsible for monitoring and updating your systems, and what steps to take in the event of a breach is essential to the long term security of your network and your company.
Just like technology itself, the field of digital security and data management is constantly evolving. In order to be sure you’re fully protected and prepared for the myriad of online threats out there, you need to remain vigilant. Even if you’re a relatively small business, you need to know that you can be a target, and you should have just as advanced security precautions in place as larger companies do.
If you’d like to learn more about what steps to take to secure your data, as well as what the options are in terms of cyber insurance for your business, contact our offices today.