There is a common misconception prevalent amongst businesses that cyberattacks, and data breaches only target large scale enterprises. This is not true as almost half of the cyberattacks target small to midsize businesses. This misconception prevents businesses from taking data breaches and cybersecurity attacks seriously. They not only ignore it but also do nothing to protect themselves from it.
According to IBM’s cost of data breach report 2020, the average cost of data breach in the United States alone is $8 million. Cyber attackers are using the pandemic to their advantage and are launching attacks to compromise business emails, phishing, and social engineering attacks.
The growing number and complexity of data breaches and social engineering attacks are making them hard to detect, prevent and mitigate. How can you protect your business from falling prey to these types of social engineering attacks in such a situation? Thankfully, there are many ways you can do that by using technology and training.
In this article, you will learn about six ways to prevent data breaches by using technology and training.
1. Educate Your Employees
Employees are the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain. This means that if you employees are not cyber-aware, it will not prevent cybercriminals from stealing your sensitive data even if you have some of the best cybersecurity solutions in place. That is why it is important to educate your employees, increase their cybersecurity awareness by organizing training and awareness programs.
The more aware your employees, the harder it will be for cyber attackers to trick them. Instead of being a weak link, your cyber aware employees can be your asset as they not only protect themselves from social engineering attacks but can also raise the red flag whenever they identify any suspicious activity.
2. Take Full Advantage of Security Tools
Having the best security tools does not guarantee ultimate protection and security, especially if you do not know how to take full advantage of its features. In fact, this is the mistake most businesses make. They spend thousands of dollars on buying the best cybersecurity solutions but rarely take advantage of its full potential. They never use all the features it comes preloaded with. Just like when you buy a VPS server, there is no point in spending thousands of dollars just to acquire a security solution that you cannot take full advantage of.
Ask yourself the following questions.
- Have you configured the firewall and intrusion detection systems properly?
- Is your anti malware software up to date?
- Are you using VPNs when logging into your wireless networks?
- Do you have a data backup and easily restore option?
Answering all these questions will give you a clear picture about how you are using your security tools.
3. Establish an Accountability Culture
Most data breaches occur due to human error. As a business, you need to ensure that your employees do not end up making mistakes which can lead to data breaches. Unfortunately, most businesses struggle with this as they do not have a culture of accountability. As a result, most employees can easily get away even after committing security blunders that can cost your business millions of dollars.
By enforcing an accountability culture in your organization, you can hold your employees accountable for their actions. Businesses should work closely with their employees to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future. This minimizes the risk of data breaches.
4. Understand How Technology Works
We all are humans and humans do make mistakes. You might be a bit surprised to see even your well trained and most cyber aware employees making some small mistakes here and there. Training has its limitations which is why you should never solely rely on it. Instead, you should educate your employees on how modern cybersecurity technologies work.
The better they understand technology and processes, the more likely they are to identify suspicious activities and behavior. Advanced cybersecurity solutions powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning can take care of most of the tasks reducing the workload of your cybersecurity team in the process.
5. Give More Control to Employees
Another reason why things go wrong is because most businesses do not trust their employees when it comes to cybersecurity. Instead of converting them into an asset, they start seeing it as a liability. Due to this lack of trust, most businesses never empower their employees or give them more control. This move backfires and led to the downfall of many businesses.
The more control employees have over their actions, the better. Organizations can send an alert or a warning when your employee is about to respond to a phishing email or click on a malicious link. This not only provides much needed support to employees but also makes it easy for organizations to hold their employees accountable for their actions.
6. Limit Access
If none of these tactics work, then you must take an extreme step such as limiting access. Yes, restricting access to all your data might not be a practical approach but you can at least limit access to sensitive information. Keep a close eye on employees who have access to sensitive data and protect your admin accounts with better security. Hackers tend to target these accounts as they could give them more freedom and access to all other accounts. This way, they can do much more damage as compared to compromising a traditional employee account.
7. Have an Incident Response Plan Ready
According to a cybersecurity resilience study conducted by IBM, a whopping 77% of cybersecurity professionals admitted that they don’t have a cybersecurity incident response plan. The biggest problem with not having an incident response plan is that you do not do not know how to respond when you are under a cybersecurity attack or dealing with the data breach aftermath. This can delay your response and can increase the damage the data breach or cybersecurity attack can do to your business.
How do you protect your business from data breaches? Let us know in the comments section below.