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Preventing Data Breaches: Best Practices

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The year 2017 was marred with numerous data breach scandals, recording around 159,700 cyber incidents targeting businesses. Reports of large data breaches are a cause of alarm for everyone.

To the affected customers, they worry about the implications of having their personal and financial information in the hands of unscrupulous hackers. To those unaffected, the possibility of falling victim to cybercriminals is also worrisome.

The same is true even to organizations. The compromised organization should worry about the incident’s negative effect on their business. Meanwhile, other organizations are worried if they are the next target.

The big question is: Could data theft be prevented?

According to Ottawa IT support experts from Firewall Technical, data breaches can very well be prevented if adequate cybersecurity strategies and best practices are only observed.

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There are a lot of ways that can be done to secure and protect vital data. Below we talk about six of the best cybersecurity practices that businesses and organizations should do to avoid data breaches.

Work with a Cybersecurity Specialist

One of the best ways of securing your data is by working with cybersecurity specialists or a network security firm. These experts can assess your company’s vulnerabilities and help you come up with the best protection. They can also educate your entire organization about best cybersecurity practices and how to implement them. Educating workers about security strategies is critical; especially that human-error remains the leading cause of data breaches. Keeping cybersecurity a priority of everyone in your organization can greatly prevent breaches.

Invest in Good Cybersecurity

As cybercriminals develop better technologies, there is a growing need to invest in IT infrastructure. Allocate a portion of your revenue on your IT needs so you can stay protected. Beef up your data security by ensuring that you are protected by up-to-date anti-virus and anti-phishing software that can detect the latest malware and other cyber threats. Regularly updating software is also important in thwarting cyber threats. Investing in security-focused hardware solutions can likewise help detect and prevent attempts of network intrusion.

Regulate the Use of Work Computers

Usually, malware gets introduced to a workplace’s IT system when employees unknowingly download and install them into office computers. Employees can also get it into the system by transferring infected files via USB into their office computers. Once a malware gets installed into the system, hackers can now have unauthorized access and control of your data. Make sure to implement measures that will prevent employees from introducing potentially malicious software into your IT infrastructure. You can deactivate all USB and optical drives to avoid unauthorized file transfers. You can also automatically block downloading of files deemed as harmful.

Data Encryption

Many cases of data breaches involve companies that lack data encryption. To minimize the risk of network security breach, keep all vital information encrypted. Data encryption tools such as VeraCrypt, AxCrypt, and CryptoExpert8 can help ensure maximum data protection and security.

Good Password Hygiene

The password is one of the top targets of hackers. Once cybercriminals get your password, it’s a bonanza! They get an unimpeded access to critical data of your business and customers. It would help to tighten your password or employ two-step authentication in your accounts. You can also use additional password features to further strengthen access to your accounts.

Educating Employees

As mentioned above, human failure is the most common cause of data breaches. Even if you have a solid cybersecurity infrastructure in place, a single misconfiguration of security devices can render it useless. Make sure people assigned to monitor and maintain your IT infrastructure are proficient at their job.

Gone are the days when cases of hacking are achieved through brute force. Many successful hacks today are done through social engineering, usually through emails or phishing. This makes education and awareness within the organization critical in avoiding data breaches. Training everyone about how to recognize phishing scams and having a quick reporting method are highly recommended.

Data breaches continue to be a plague in the cyberspace. However, you can avoid falling victim to unscrupulous players if you only practice these strategies. If you haven’t considered a data breach as a real threat, then you need to start now, before it’s too late.

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