Protect Your Business from Data Breaches and Cyber Security ThreatsPosted on Aug 08, 2022
Businesses regularly collect data relating to their company, employees, clients, vendors, partners, and more. Therefore, protecting your business from data breaches isn’t just for self-preservation but also to protect the data of other sources your company uses.
Data breaches are becoming more common for both large and small businesses, so it’s essential for all companies to take security measures to protect their data along with the data they access outside of their network.
In order to protect your business from cyber security threats, you need to understand what data breaches are, how they happen, and how to limit your exposure to them. In addition, your business should consider cyber security coverage because data breaches can happen regardless of how careful you are. Doing this will protect your company, employees, clients, and any other data sources your business utilizes.
What are Data Breaches?
A data breach or data leak is the physical or digital exposure of sensitive data. Data breaches can occur internally or using external devices like laptops or hard drives.
Sensitive information may include Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like names, contact information, addresses, and financial details. Other types of data breaches include trade secrets, company information, customer information, and analytics. These types of breaches can be used to expose company secrets, confidential information, or customer details. PII, in particular, can be harmful to affected employees and customers whose confidential data has been exposed to data breach attacks.
How Do Data Breaches Happen?
Data breaches happen when an unauthorized party or hacker steals, copies, or accesses sensitive, confidential, or personal information. Data leaks can either be targeted and intentional or accidental.
There are five main types of data breaches; they include the following:
- Accidental. Accidental exposure is usually caused by an employee forgetting to take the necessary security steps to protect data. This type of data breach could be due to human error or not taking proper security measures. For example, they may upload sensitive information onto the cloud and forget to protect it with a password.
- Insider. Unhappy employees at a company can also intentionally create a data breach to harm the company or profit. For example, they could sell confidential information to a third party or leak data to damage the company’s reputation.
- Malware. Malware or ransomware is another common way for data breaches to happen. They may access a company’s network by sending phishing emails to employees. Once an employee clicks the link on one of the emails, the hackers gain access. Then, in the case of ransomware, they may hijack the network and demand ransom before access is returned to employees.
- Software and hardware. If your company is using older software or hardware, hackers may be able to find a way through vulnerabilities in the outdated system to gain access to the network.
- Physical theft. If any company devices or employee devices are physically stolen, unauthorized access to data may be accessed by the thieves or anyone who gains access to the devices.
How Can Businesses Limit Exposure to Data Breaches?
- Conduct regular forensic security audits and assessments to identify all confidential data and current security practices of your business and your vendors in order to find places where your business is vulnerable and can improve.
- Update software and hardware to ensure they are not outdated and open to vulnerabilities.
- Improve physical security in the office to reduce the chance of robbery.
- Data encryption is essential to protect confidential and sensitive information properly. If there is a data breach and the data is encrypted, cybercriminals will have a much more difficult time accessing the information.
- Reevaluate data permissions. This will ensure that only people who are required to access sensitive data have permission to access it. Reevaluating and changing data permissions will likely reduce the number of people that can access data, improving overall security.
- Educate employees on cyber security practices. This should include avoiding any potential phishing or malware emails, along with training to help them identify potential sources of vulnerability on their own. Also, they should understand that devices like flash drives or mobile phones should not have sensitive information that can easily be lost or stolen.
- Invest in cyber security, like antivirus software, and firewalls, along with keeping all software regularly updated. Doing so will significantly improve the business’s protection against cyber security threats.
What are the Types of Cyber and Data Breach Coverages Businesses Should Consider?
Although taking steps to improve cyber security can greatly improve your business’s protection against data breaches and cyber attacks, data breaches can happen in even the most cyber-secure companies.
Therefore, businesses should invest in cyber coverage in addition to limiting data breach exposure. Below are the two main types of cyber coverage that businesses should consider:
First-party cyber liability insurance covers you from direct costs incurred due to a cyber-attack or data breach, including:
- Extortion paid
- Lost income
- Cyber security contracts to investigate the breach
- Public relations and crisis management
- Monitoring services
Third-party cyber liability insurance protects your business against any claims made against you due to customers or other parties impacted by the data breach. This policy will cover legal fees, settlements, and other court costs.