Any kind of data breach for a business can bring about catastrophic results. According to Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach survey, 2020 saw $3.86 million in lost assets from data breaches alone (with numbers for 2021 indicating growth to over $4 million), and the average data breach costs a small business around $108,000, due to the ramifications of losing customer information. This can be from loss of business, lawsuits, and other financial obligations. As you can see, such a data breach can be devastating to any kind of business. Even if you’re able to stay afloat following the loss of company and customer data, it can take years to recover from the attack. That is exactly why you need to know how to prevent data leaks in your place of business.
Monitor All Network Access
It is possible for a data breach to happen anywhere within your network. This means even in areas you would never expect. You likely look at Internet connections on your computer and other ways you directly communicate with other networks and systems outside of your own. However, a skilled cybercriminal can siphon off data through other entry points, including IoT (Internet of Things) devices. So yes, that printer you have connected to the office network can actually be the certain opening cybercriminals need. Realistically, just about anything that connects to the Internet can be used to bypass incomplete network security. That is exactly why you need to throw a wider security net and protect all network access points.
Discuss Employee Expectations
You can have the most advanced network security system in place within your business, but it’s all for not if an employee opens an email and clicks on an infected link. Sometimes the easiest form of sneaking into a business network is the most effective. There’s a reason cybercriminals still send out phishing scams that look like a direct email from Apple or PayPal. It is set up to trick spam filters and to look authentic. Of course, the easiest way to determine whether or not an email is fake or not is to look at the actual sender’s email address. Often this is a dead giveaway (Apple doesn’t send official emails from a Gmail account). However, it is still important to discuss employee expectations on their conduct and what they do with their computers.
This does become trickier with stay-at-home operations where employees can use their own computers while working from their house. With a company computer, you can block access to certain websites and email accounts. However, when an employee uses their own computer, you cannot do as much. While you can still incorporate their computer under the umbrella of network security, you won’t be able to go to the same protective measures of preventing access to other websites. In these instances, the best you can do is discuss employee expectations and go over what to avoid on the Internet and in emails.
With more employees working from home, you want to make sure it is actually your employee logging into the office network and not a stranger. The best way to do this is to take advantage of two-factor authentication. Passwords and usernames can be given out or stolen, so relying on this leaves your network at risk of a data breach. However, with the second form of authentication, you can greatly heighten your level of security. There are several secondary authentication forms you can take advantage of. This includes fingerprint scans, requiring a security question and answer, or incorporating facial recognition software. Charlotte IT Solutions can assist you with setting up a two-factor authentication system for your office.
This is a safeguard approach designed to protect you in the event of a data breach. By encrypting your data, even if someone can steal information from your network, they won’t have direct access to the files they obtain. Now, a skilled cybercriminal may still be able to piece together some of the information without a decryption key, and it offers an additional layer of protection. Data encryption shouldn’t be used as the only means of defense but as an additional layer of protection for your company and its information.
Look Into Third Party Services
While you take data security seriously, third-party applications and service providers may not. Your data security is only as strong as the weakest link, and if a third party is lax with their security, you put yourself at risk. While the services or prices they offer may be good, it’s not worth risking your entire business in the event of a data breach on their end. Due to this, it is important to contact any third-party members you work with and consult them on their security protocols. If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, or if you’re interested in help, Charlotte IT Solutions can lend a hand in contacting these third parties to determine the quality of security they have implemented.
Help Securing Your Company’s Data Network
Many of these practices for how to prevent data leaks you and your employees can execute. Often, data leaks cause a human error due to someone clicking on an infected link. However, the greater your network protection, the better off your business will be, as more sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals will not want to spend time attempting to break through your protective barrier. To help you prevent data leaks, and enhance other areas of your business IT network, the team at Charlotte IT Solutions is here to help. To discover the optimal ways you can protect your data, give the customer service staff at Charlotte IT Solutions a call or send a request email at your earliest convenience.
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