A client data breach can have short-term and long-term ramifications. Whether you lose usernames, passwords, payment data, social security information, medical records, credit reports, or other sensitive information, your business’s operational capacity and reputation are likely to suffer. Eventually, you may also face legal issues.
While data breaches are costly regardless of the type or scope of your business, they can be particularly harmful to small to medium-sized organizations that lack the resources to handle cyber threats. Let’s consider some recent trends in cybersecurity:
- While remote working protocols grow in popularity due to the pandemic, they open businesses to new threat vectors.
- Ransomware attacks are striking organizations of all sizes. Experts believe the attacks will grow even more sophisticated.
- Ransomware shuts down 1 in 5 small businesses after it strikes.
Here are some steps that can help your organization secure client data:
1. Use Security Tools
Even if your organization is on a tight budget, it can find free antivirus software to stop malware like viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware. Ideally, it would help if you had a subscription to an Endpoint Protection & Response (EDR) service that secures all the endpoints in your company with anti-malware technology. In addition, you should secure your networks with a firewall and corporate VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.
2. Focus on Employees
Experts find that most data breaches occur due to employee errors. There are two ways to protect your company from such issues. Start by limiting access to data on a need-to-know basis. With fewer employees accessing sensitive data, you can decrease the probability of a data breach. Next, hire a network security consultant to train your staff to handle sensitive data and manage cyber threats.
3. Enhance Password Protection
To stop brute force attacks like dictionary attacks, you need more robust passwords. The weaker the passwords, the easier it is for a brute force attack to breach network security. In addition, enable multiple-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent breaches even if a threat actor has the password. Remember, the costly Colonial Pipeline Hack could have been stopped if the organization had enabled MFA.
4. Use Security Patches
Patch your software regularly with the latest security patches. Such patches fix system susceptibilities that hackers can use to bypass your network’s defenses and copy customer data. For instance, many Trojans that drop ransomware, steal usernames or passwords, and spy on financial data, exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems.
5. Use Encryption Tools
Take advantage of top encryption tools to secure your servers. Use encrypted hard drives or store data on a reputable and encrypted cloud server with databases in secure locations to protect your sensitive information.
6. Create Backups
It would help if you had a mitigation strategy in the event of a virus or ransomware attack. What happens if ransomware encrypts customer data? Paying the ransom is not a guarantee. Regularly create backups on secured servers to help remediate threats like ransomware.
You must also partner with a cybersecurity team to audit your system. A good professional can identify threat vectors, help develop an excellent mitigation strategy, and even offer response solutions. Stay prepared to stay safe.