4 Proactive Steps Businesses Can Take To Prevent A Data Breach

For the 21st century small business, few forces pose a greater threat to a company’s longevity than data security breaches. The question is, is your business prepared to prevent these dangerous and deadly attacks?

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What Constitutes A Data Breach?

It’s a term that’s thrown around all the time, but what exactly is a data breach in the first place? According to Forbes, “A data breach occurs when there is an unauthorized entry point into a corporation’s database that allows cyber hackers to access customer data such as passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, banking information, driver’s license numbers, medical records, and other sensitive information.”

The purpose of a data breach can vary based on the attacker. Sometimes the goal is to mine sensitive information and personal details for fraud or identity theft purposes. Other times the goal is to hold the business ransom until a payment is made. But regardless of the motivating factor, a data breach can spell disaster for a small business.

How Common Are Data Breaches?

Most people automatically assume that it’s larger organizations that hackers pursue, but the truth is that they go after the easiest targets. And in many cases, it’s small businesses that walk around with targets on their backs.

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According to research curated by Fundera, 43 percent of all cyber attack targets are small businesses. The average cost to small businesses is more than $2.2 million, which leads an estimated 60 percent of small business victims to go out of business within just six months.

Just 14 percent of small businesses say they have a “highly effective” cybersecurity strategy in place to protect them against attacks. Roughly 66 percent of small businesses are “concerned” to “extremely concerned” about cybersecurity risk.

4 Ways SBOs Can Prevent Data Breaches

Fearful that you aren’t currently protected against a potential cyber attack? Not sure where to begin? We have a few helpful tips that could empower you to prevent costly incidents:

1. Conduct a Cybersecurity Audit

A cybersecurity audit will help you uncover all vulnerabilities so that you can implement the proper plan to counteract threats, shore up weaknesses, and strengthen your defenses. Begin the audit process by creating a list of everything that needs to be tested – including tangible and intangible assets.

Tangible assets include all of your computer equipment, your production machinery and anything else physical your business owns,” project strategist Sheza Gary writes. “Deciphering your intangible assets can be more difficult. For that reason, you may want to define your security perimeter, which basically divides your assets into the things you’ll audit and the things you will not.

Once an audit is conducted, you’ll define your threats and rank them. This establishes a priority list that can be used to improve your cybersecurity defense.

2. Implement The Right Protections

The time to establish cybersecurity defense is now – before there’s a problem. And a firewall is a good place to start.

At its most basic, a firewall is essentially the barrier that sits between a private internal network and the public Internet,Check Point Software explains. “A firewall’s main purpose is to allow non-threatening traffic in and to keep dangerous traffic out.

There are numerous types of firewalls and a variety of features and underlying technologies, but this gives you the basic gist. And when combined with other security elements, it provides a strong backbone.

3. Improve Password Security

Password integrity is monumentally important. By strengthening passwords, you make it exponentially harder for attackers to steal credentials and walk in through the “front door.” Two-factor authentication has become the gold standard. Consider utilizing it for all business devices and software.

4. Educate And Train Employees

You can have all of the best technologies and systems in place, but they mean nothing if your employees aren’t educated and trained on important security-related matters.

Internal threats are arguably a more pertinent risk to small businesses than external threats. And while some insider attacks are intentional, many are the result of negligence or a lack of understanding. By investing in the right training and education for your employees, you reduce risks in these areas.

Tying It All Together

There’s no magic bullet for warding off attackers. For small businesses, the key is to develop a multifaceted defense that accounts for the most common vulnerabilities and threats. In doing so, you significantly lower your chances of being compromised today, tomorrow, and indefinitely.

If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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