5 Online Security Tips to Protect Your Company from Data Breaches

Data breaches are becoming more common than ever, so you should take these steps to beef up your company's online security.

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Data breaches are becoming a lot more concerning these days. In the first six months of 2019, 4.1 billion records were exposed by data breaches. This figure grew exponentially during the pandemic as more people were spending huge amounts of time online.

You have to be proactive to prevent data breaches. Most of us can do better when it comes to online data security. Businesses are losing billions each year due to lackluster cyber security and often it could have been easily prevented. Sadly, around 60% of companies go bankrupt within six months of a data breach.

Here are some easy tips to help you greatly limit the chances of being compromised by a data breach.

1. Change Passwords

One of the best things you can do to improve your company’s cybersecurity and stop a data breach in its tracks is to require all of your employees to change their passwords regularly. At a minimum, employees need to change their passwords every 90 days. This can help to make a big difference in your online security because they will be less likely to get brute force hacked. Also, you want to ensure they are adhering to proper password protocols. Best practices for passwords need to be adhered to by everyone. This means no passwords using family names, birth dates, or anything of that nature.

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If any of your employee’s personal belongings go missing, they cannot have passwords written down. Otherwise, it will make it easy for a hacker to gain access to sensitive data and accounts. A lot of people use common passwords that make it easy to guess.

The best way to combat this is by getting all of your employees a password manager. A password management solution can be optimal because it will make it easy to create unique passwords for every account. It also makes it easy to access accounts without having to remember a password. Doing so with your memory can be nearly impossible. A password generator can optimize your password to ensure it’s not easy to brute force and that it’s unique. This will stop many data breaches by itself.

2. Install a Firewall and Secure It

You want to ensure that you have a firewall installed for your business. This can either be a software-based firewall or one that is hardware-based. An optimized firewall can keep the network secure. It can keep your computer secure too. It keeps your network and computer safe from prying eyes. It will monitor the data coming in and going out and check for any unusual activity. The firewall will then make decisions on whether or not to block the traffic based on the set rules.

You’ll find that a lot of operating systems like macOS and Windows have built-in software-based firewall protection. Therefore, you will have a good amount of protection out the gate. They do need to be enabled and kept enabled before going online. You also need to ensure they are constantly being updated. Keeping your computers auto-updated is always a good idea.

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You can also invest in additional layers of security in the form of third-party firewalls for your networks. These include Cisco and even WatchGuard. For additional security, you could always purchase additional layers of security to make it increasingly difficult to break into your network.

3. Get Antivirus Software

A good thing to do for every business is to invest in antivirus software. While a lot of the threats are mitigated by having appropriate firewalls in place and by using common sense, it’s always good to have an additional layer of security in place. You’ll find there are a lot of different types of threats out there that can pose a danger to your computers and networks. These include trojans, viruses, keyloggers, and more.

If you have something like this on your network, it could expose everyone. Someone could be monitoring your network, stealing pertinent data, and logging your key presses.

Having antivirus software and IEM solutions installed and active will help to mitigate these issues. It can tell you when you have viruses, malware, and more. It’s a good way to minimize the damage and remove threats before they become a major issue. Not everyone adheres to the best practices when it comes to downloading files and more. Therefore, you’ll want to have this additional layer of protection.

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4. Wipe Old Computers

Whenever you are looking to avoid any vulnerabilities to your network, one of the most important things to do is to wipe any old data. You don’t want to get rid of a computer before wiping it clean. You need to wipe the data on a computer if you are tossing it. This will ensure that your security isn’t compromised. A lot of people forget this step. Wiping the data from your computer before getting rid of it will ensure you don’t have data entering the wild that is unprotected. If you are getting new systems, have someone who is well trained at wiping computers to do it. Ideally, you want to do it multiple times as it’s good IT practice.

5. Don’t Eat Spam

Another thing you need to do is keep everyone informed about unknown email addresses and spam. You want to keep people from opening up emails that are from unknown senders. This is one of the most common ways hackers orchestrate data breaches.

Have phishing training that you have every employee go through. Everyone needs to be trained and educated on what they should be looking for when it comes to phishing emails and scams. You can have software installed including antivirus software that can identify these emails. However, nothing is foolproof and you need the training to ensure you mitigate risks.

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A lot of the modern filter software out there can get rid of some of the spam before it becomes a problem. There are intelligent mail protection systems that can help to mitigate these issues by filtering out spam emails before they reach the users. This is a very good thing to invest in if you suffer from phishing scams and employees that don’t adhere to good practices.

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Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Email: ryankh14@icloud.com