Every day, another data breach makes headlines. The global cost of a data breach is now a staggering $4.35 million. With so much at stake, business leaders are looking for new ways to avoid being the next target. Here are seven strategies that any entrepreneur can use to keep their data and client data safe from cyberattacks.
1. Prioritize Endpoint Security
One persistent challenge to cybersecurity is the number and diversity of endpoints in use. Remote work has only accelerated this trend. Standardization of security protocols is, unfortunately, all too rare. There also tends to be an over-emphasis on protecting data as it moves between devices. The overwhelming majority of data isn’t in transit. It’s at rest, waiting to be accessed. Data at rest can be accessed from several points, making secure perimeters and awareness of application vulnerabilities crucial. Networks are only as strong as the weakest link.
2. Consider Remote Monitoring
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) constitute the use of software agents by a management service provider to supervise systems remotely. The benefit of this technology is consistency. Remote monitoring is performed constantly by automated systems. With even stored data at risk of attack, it pays to keep monitoring the status of your network. If you can afford the service, RMM can give you much in the way of peace of mind.
3. Backup All Data
Data packets are ultimately the prize for any intruder. IBM recently found an alarming statistic. The cost of a data breach is around $161 per file stolen. Much of this loss includes the cost of recovery and loss of reputation. Storing backups of all data can mitigate much of this harm. Backing things up in the cloud is good standard practice. Storing data offline on encrypted flash drives is also advisable. Keeping hard copies on file is yet another good plan. A hacker can’t compromise what they can’t access.
4. Encrypt Everything
One very effective way to safeguard your data is to encrypt it at every level. Thankfully, encryption is becoming more common. Windows 10 comes with a full-volume encryption program called BitLocker as an option. Hard drives can also be encrypted, as can flash drives, which sometimes offer biometric locking options. Using a virtual private network (VPN) is also beneficial. VPNs act as a virtual encrypted “tunnel” to protect your identity as you surf. Encryption is just one more layer of protection between your systems and hackers.
5. Educate Employees
Security giant Tessian’s now-famous “Psychology of Human Error” report found that 85% of data breaches have human error as a root cause. This human error takes many forms. One of the most common is falling for so-called phishing scams. It’s not uncommon for workers to become convinced to give out sensitive information by a seasoned con artist. Novice users often can’t tell a fake website or URL from a genuine one. Give your employees a crash course in essential cybersecurity. Teach everyone the basics of how attacks happen and how to prevent them. Getting everyone on the same page makes your team and your security protocols stronger.
6. Verify, Verify, Verify
On the internet, anybody can assume a new identity. For this reason, it’s vital to limit access to your networks and insist upon rigorous verification standards for new users. Collectively, this strategy is called zero-trust security architecture. Always assume that a stranger intends to cause harm. Limiting the lateral movements of a potential threat can be accomplished by cutting access to the minimum necessary. Using multi factor authentication (MFA) measures such as security questions and one-time passwords (OTPs) can help to create a layered defense for your data.
No single solution to cybercrime exists. Attacks can come from multiple angles. That fact means that having all your bases covered is critical to keeping hackers at bay. Learn the tricks and how to counter them. Stay abreast of the latest security threats. In the world of information technology, knowledge is always power.