Hacking is the new form of a “break in” in the digital age. Instead of paper files locked in cabinets, today’s businesses have digital files stored on premise or in the cloud, which are prime targets for hackers.
According to CSO, there were over 6,500 reported data breaches last year which resulted in 5 billion total records being exposed. Companies are paying the price to the tune of approximately $3.86 million on average for a data breach, or about $148 per each lost or stolen record.
Preventing a data breach is a major concern for businesses of all sizes. We see this every day when providing IT security services in the Quad-Cities area. Hackers can try to get in on multiple fronts, which is why a multi-pronged approach is best when it comes to preventing a network breach.
Most Common Causes of Data Breaches
Cybercriminals try multiple forms of entry to get into your system to steal sensitive information and plant malware, including ransomware and spyware. Here are the top causes data breaches.
- Web-related leaks
IT Security Best Practices to Prevent a Data Breach
While hackers may be trying to get into your network day and night, there are some best practices you can employ to keep your network safe and block multiple routes of entry that hackers may try.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Easily cracked or stolen passwords are one of the main ways that hackers gain access to your system to plant malware that allows them to steal sensitive information.
Employing two-factor authentication takes care of any issues with weak passwords by requiring another form of authentication during login. Most business applications, such as Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), will have the ability to enable this for all staff. Once enabled, upon login, the application will send a time-sensitive code (generally via text message) which needs to be entered to gain entry to the application.
Train Employees on Phishing Awareness
Phishing emails have become more sophisticated and the average untrained user will not typically be able to tell the difference between a legitimate email and a scam that contains a malicious link or attachment.
Twin State Technical Services works with KnowBe4, a comprehensive security awareness training tool that helps your staff greatly improve their ability to spot and avoid a phishing attack.
The human factor is one of the most important when thwarting hackers, so training should be a key part of any company’s cybersecurity program.
Perform a Security Assessment
What you don’t know CAN hurt you when it comes to IT security. While you may think your security is fine, a security assessment can often uncover network vulnerabilities that you didn’t even know where there.
Security assessments by trained IT professionals can give you a helpful roadmap with areas of focus to strengthen your defenses against hackers.
Implement Automatic Updates and Patches
When you’re dealing with multiple devices that can access your company data, both computers and mobile devices, that exponentially increases your risk of a breach if they’re not updated regularly.
Updates and patches for operating systems, software, and firmware often contain critical security fixes for found vulnerabilities. Rather than counting on each user to update regularly, it’s better to have an automated update plan in place either through your IT department or a managed service provider.
Use Intelligent Firewalls and Anti-Malware Programs
Artificial intelligence has helped next-gen firewall and anti-malware manufacturers up their game when it comes to anticipating and identifying threats. AI allows for deep learning activity which helps these programs gather intel both from analyzing your users’ behavior and tapping a continually updated threat database.
If you’re using an outdated firewall or anti-malware program without the more advanced threat detection capabilities, you’ll want to upgrade to ensure you’re protected by a system that’s a step ahead of the newest online threats.
Implement a Mobile Device Management Program
Mobile devices continue to take over an increasing amount of workload from desktops each year. While they allow much more flexibility in the working environment, they can also cause security concerns if they’re not properly managed.
Today’s Mobile Device Management applications can be used with both a company-issued or bring your own device (BYOD) policy. They allow you to lock out stolen or lost devices, easily keep them all updated, and use one central administrative panel for multiple other security controls.
Create a Cybersecurity Policy Manual
Do you have a cybersecurity manual that outlines office policies when it comes to things like password creation, access of public Wi-Fi, and handling customer credit card data?
In order for any security procedure to be properly followed, it should be written down into a policy manual that staff can read and refer back to often. It should include everything about your IT security protocols and step by step instructions about what to do if someone has clicked a phishing link or a breach has been detected.
Schedule a Cybersecurity Vulnerability Assessment Today
Are you wondering just how strong your network security might be? Find out with a vulnerability scan by Twin State Technical Services. We perform both external and internal assessments to simulate different types of attacks and will identify any weaknesses and recommend ways to address them.
Contact us today to get started at 563-441-1504 or reach out online.