Data security has always been a priority number one for business entities, and this question is topical in modern realities. The COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to turn to remote work, making inroads for cyber attacks. That’s why measures on data protection are necessary for every organization. Today, we do not imagine our lives without online Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft meetings that are very often held using a screen recorder or instant messages. It was reported that as of November 2020, Zoom has 300 million active participants per day.

Most companies have unprotected data and poor cybersecurity practices, and recent research says in 2020, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million. You can avoid losses caused by unprotected data by chasing the right protection measures. Most data breaches are related to human error and their unawareness of basic security rules. In this article, you will find practical tips to keep your data safe. 

Historic Data Breaches

We suggest five cautionary stories for you to learn from their painful experience and avoid possible outcomes in the future. 

  • In 2020, a Twitter breach affected 130 accounts that resulted in swindling $121,000 in Bitcoin through nearly 300 transactions. 
  • In 2020, more than 5.2 million hotel guests had their data breached that was disclosed by Marriott. 
  • In 2018, Under Armor reported that its “My Fitness Pal” was hacked, targeting 150 million users. 
  • The Equifax breach caused over $4 billion loss in total. 
  • In 2016, hackers stole the information of over 57 million Uber riders and drivers. 

But it doesn’t mean that only big companies suffer from cyber attacks – a great number of small businesses experience data leaks.   

Top 5 Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Your Business Data

Consider the following pieces of advice that will help secure the data and make your employees aware of possible risks: 

Use Strong Password

If one of your employees has a weak password, it endangers not only their data but the private information of the entire company, its clients, and partners. People forget about creativeness when making up passwords and use weak combinations of letters and numbers that are very easy to hack. In the list of the most common passwords, we can observe 123456, picture1, password, and many other straightforward examples. If you have found your password in the list, please think about strengthening it.

Here are some actionable tips for creating a strong password:  

  • It should contain at least eight symbols, both numbers, and letters of the upper register. Combine random letters so that it’d be difficult to guess the word. 
  • Don’t use the same passwords across different services and websites containing personal data. If it was breached in one place, you risk being targeted in other sites as well.
  • Use a phrase, complementing it with shortcut codes or acronyms, for example, 2BorNot2B_ThatIsThe? (To be or not to be, that is the question).
  • Customize your password to a specific site associating it with its products or services: Pwrd4FbAc (Password for a Facebook account).
  • Don’t write it down, as it endangers your private information, especially in the workplace.
  • Use password managers that will provide you with credible protection.  

Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication or MFA makes it significantly more difficult to infiltrate your data infrastructure. Hackers will need more time and effort to gain control over your private information or give up trying to hack you. MFA is composed of important factors such as the information known to the user (password), the protection element available to the user (security token), and the biometric element (fingerprint). Your private data will have several layers of protection that discourage cybercriminals from continuing hacking networks, databases, and computing devices. Even if one authentication element is broken, your data is still protected by the others. All your company platforms must be equipped with multi-factor authentication as it’s one of the core elements for safe operating. 

Here are some examples of using multi-factor authentication:

  • The global marketplace Etsy developed a multi-level security solution using smartphones instead of often unreliable tokens.
  • Bank of America uses a third-party service to send a verification code to customer smartphones by SMS. They need to enter the six-digit verification code on the site to confirm the transaction.
  • Azure multi-factor authentication offers such verification methods as a mobile app, a text message, a phone call, and third-party authentication methods. 

Configure Automatic Software Updates

You can protect your business data from potential threats by setting automatic updates. Your operating system can be a vulnerable target for hackers. They usually try to detect your software version to find out its weaknesses. Operating systems possess many built-in functions for cyber attack prevention, but their hacking methods are constantly improving. Updating your operating system and device security settings to their latest versions is a way to avoid data breaches. The automatic update is the easiest way to stay secure all the time.

Use the Cloud

The cloud service providers allow you to keep your business information safe by storing it in one place, maintaining software patches, and implementing security to every data element. Cybersecurity protocols are a great solution both for enterprise-level organizations and small businesses seeking private information protection.

Consider the following cloud cybersecurity companies that will help you protect data: ExtraHop, Red Canary, Ping Identity, etc. 

Beware of Social Engineering Attacks 

Social engineering is a wide range of malicious activities aimed at obtaining private information. People engaged in this activity use psychological manipulation towards their victims. They are always patient and wait for a long time, collecting users’ data and background information to strike them one day. 

You need to teach your employees about social engineering dangers, as they are caused by human error rather than software and operating systems vulnerabilities. In order to protect your business data keep in mind these tips: 

  • Reject requests for personal information or passwords. If someone contacts you by sending an email with links and files asking to open them – it is a scam. They want to gain access to your data in this fraudulent way, therefore, check the sender and do not open and answer unexpected emails.
  • Set up spam filters. After setting your email software filters, you can avoid receiving unwanted, dangerous messages. Consider that sometimes legitimate emails can be sent to this box, so you should check it periodically to not miss important information.
  • Always be ready to take risks and think in advance about possible outcomes. You need to be well informed of the latest cybersecurity news and recent breaches that may affect your company. Read newsletters or listen to podcasts on a cybersecurity topic and be safe.

Conclusion

We hope that you will not face private data breaches with the help of this article that listed the main tips for keeping the information safe. Do not neglect basic security rules and talk about possible risks with your employees. Your business’ data security is in the hands of every company member.