6 Ways to Prevent Cybersecurity Breaches

Cyber security breaches pose a bigger risk to businesses than most alternative threats. However, preventing them is possible with know-how and the right tools. Here are some ways to prevent issues with cybersecurity.

1. Restrict Access To Sensitive Data

About a decade ago, most employees could access all the data stored on their computers and other networked devices. This alone put many companies in a hard place, forcing them to implement tougher measures on data security. Today, employees can access data based on their level of clearance. Many companies restrict access to certain types of data to specific people alone, with one requiring special clearance to access the same. Restricting access to sensitive data helps prevent unauthorized access, thus reducing the risk of data theft and other malicious acts.

2. Demand Transparency from Third-Party Vendors

Most companies often have to partner or work with various third-party vendors to easily reach their target audiences and customers. However, allowing these vendors access to your systems and data increases a myriad of risks, e.g., data breaches. Although you might have vetted all your employees, some of these vendors do not. They could thus have someone with an ill-motive on their payroll. For this reason, it is safe to require third-party vendors to comply with privacy laws and transparency to work with them.

Although this may seem like too much a hassle for many companies, it’s better to do background checks on your employees than deal with an expensive data breach. In addition to restricting access to certain types of data, you still should demand transparency from everyone you work with. Don’t assume they comply with privacy laws, ask for proof. Ensure everyone who enters your company premises is vetted regularly to ensure they are clean.

3. Sensitize Your Employees On Cyber Security

Although you might not know this, staff members are your weakest link on data and cyber security. According to a survey, most employees will knowingly open a suspicious email and even click untrustworthy links despite being trained on cyber security. Clicking on a suspicious link or opening an unsolicited email could download viruses or malware to the computer, infecting the entire network in the process.

Conducting employee security awareness training regularly is one of the best and recommended ways to fight/prevent cyber-attacks. Experts recommend briefing and sensitizing your employees on this at least once monthly for the best results. The more employees are trained and sensitized on cyber security, the better the chances are for them to see sense in it.

4. Enable Automatic Software/App Updates

Almost every software/app or operating system developer creates and pushes regular updates and security patches to keep their software running smoothly and secure. Hackers look for loopholes in the software to manipulate and gain access to your systems, a reason developers are always actively looking for such bugs and patching them using regular updates. That said, you need to update your software regularly or enable automatic updates where possible. The security patches help thwart potential attacks and keep your network secure too.

SIEM tools are big in the sector right now – if you’re thinking of going down the route then read this piece of content on SIEM tools.

5. Create a Sound Cyber Breach Response Plan

What backup plans do you have in place in case of a cyber-attack? Most companies do not have a comprehensive response plan to fall back to in case they are hit by ransomware or data breach. This is either because they don’t see it necessary or haven’t been targets yet. Sadly, most companies that were victims of hacking or data breaches hardly confess this in public and try to conceal it for obvious reasons. Many of them are reluctant to disclose the amount and type of data compromised if they do speak.

Sadly, even governments are reluctant to accept being hacked. As mentioned before, most will keep this hidden for as long as possible and downplay it until they have everything under control. In most instances, the government will deny this until the true nature of the breach is exposed to the public.

Downplaying data breaches only makes things worse. Consumers need to know when/if their data was stolen and how it happened to know how to protect themselves in case the worst happens. The worst thing about government hacks is that a simple data breach can see sensitive information such as a person’s official names, address, fingerprints, and social security numbers in the wrong hands.

However, having a comprehensive data breach preparedness plan in place makes it easier for both the employer and employee to understand potential damages and how to handle it. Telling the truth about a data breach can help prevent negative publicity and reduced productivity in the workplace. It’s easier to tell the truth, yourself when it happens than leaving the employees to hear about it from other sources.

A good data breach response plan should at least start with acknowledging a breach and determining how extensive it was before making any major decisions. Finding the person responsible for the breach, and taking decisive and swift action against the culprit, can help manage damages and hopefully restore employee and public trust.

6. Use Hard-To-Guess Passwords

About a decade ago, very few companies were concerned about their employee’s passwords and how often they changed them. Today, employers encourage employees to use hard-to-decipher passwords and change them at least once every three months. While using strong passwords makes it harder for a hacker to crack, changing them regularly makes it almost impossible. The same is recommended for personal accounts and home computers as well. A password is only considered strong if it comprises small letters, capital letters, special characters, and more than 12 characters long.