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How To Prevent A Company Data Breach

A company data breach has the potential to sink your company, with clients losing trust and taking their business elsewhere. Not to mention the hefty financial implications that come after a data breach. With even some of the world’s biggest companies making headlines for large scale data breaches, it can be scary for those companies with a smaller budget to spend on cybersecurity. However, even small to medium businesses should take their data security seriously and protect themselves.

Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Company

1. Use Strong Passwords 

This one may seem fairly basic but never underestimate the power of a hard-to-decipher password. When working with a company network, or sharing files across networks, you make your private information accessible to a number of people. As such, companies need to remember that employees must also stay on top of password protection. 

This is especially true when staff are working away from the office. All employees must regularly change their passwords and make them difficult to decipher. Experts encourage alphanumeric passwords featuring upper case letters, numbers and special characters. The more complicated the password, the more difficult it is for someone to break into the system.

2. Limit Access to Valuable Files

They say sharing is caring but when it comes to the most valuable data, not everyone should have access. 

Companies must limit who is able to see the more critical data. This may include intrinsic company figures, personal customer financial information or other private data. By limiting the access to certain documentation, you are subsequently restricting the number of people who may be vulnerable to clicking a malicious link. That means that only people who are prepared to handle the sensitivity of the data, and the associated risks, will be allowed to access it.

3. Train Employees 

Employees are often the weakest link in the data security chain, regardless of their seniority level. Staff members open emails daily which have the potential to download viruses affecting, not only their own devices, but on a company-wide level. Ongoing cybersecurity training is imperative to safeguard your workforce. 

Experts recommend regular training to help staff highlight which emails should be considered ‘suspicious’. It is not enough having professionals on site (for example a cybersecurity director) to mitigate external risks if your employees at an internal level do not know how to prevent risk. Cybersecurity is constantly changing. As such, regularly educating employees should be a company priority.

Employers should always be honest about the scope of the breach and the detrimental effects that it could have. Employers and employees should be on the same page. Having a good response plan in place can prevent negative publicity. It should include a thorough evaluation of what was lost, when and who is responsible. With this knowledge, the company is able to take action quickly and limit damage as much as possible.

4. Regularly Update Software 

There is a reason that professionals tell you to keep your application software updated. Whenever available, you should make sure to keep your software up-to-date according to the latest updates. 

Out of date software makes your network vulnerable to risk. This is an easy and cost-effective way to strengthen your network and preemptively stop attacks. This also applies to antivirus and anti-malware software. These softwares should be installed and checked regularly for the latest updates.

5. Hire Ethical Hackers or External Testers

There are professional companies across the UK and overseas who work as ‘ethical hackers.’ Such companies will use different technology and expertise to try hack into your systems, highlighting any weak or vulnerable areas which you can then review and adapt to according.

This is also known as penetration testing, where essentially the external company tries to penetrate your website, database, emails, servers and more. Make sure that you use a firm that is crest accredited, otherwise known as a crest penetrating test company, which one-off audits usually available from as little as £1,000.