6 Strategies to Defend Your Business Against Data Breaches

Protecting your company information from the threat of a data breach is important for the health of your business, the security of your client’s information, and overall peace of mind. While specific industries have stricter requirements than others, many businesses may face hefty fines or being held legally responsible for any data breach that impacts their clients and the information they have trusted your business with. Having strategies in place to defend against potential data breaches will keep your business and client information secure and ensure that you are within compliance and protected in case anything happens. Being proactive about data security is the best way to defend your business from a data breach.
Three employees working at a table on their computers, with a cyber security login on the computer screen.

Foster a Workplace Culture of Data Security

You can implement policies that focus on best practices, but the safety of your business really comes down to your employees and their involvement in keeping your company data safe. Employees are your first line of defense, and the more they understand their role in keeping your data secure, the better they will be. Employee training and awareness can help your team identify and report suspicious activity, properly handle sensitive information, and understand the impact of data breaches. Often the best way to foster this culture of data security is to keep employees informed not only on the policies, but how and why those policies were developed. Consistent training in new cybercriminals strategies can help employees filter out potential phishing scams.

Understand Your Risk

Until you know your risk of a data breach, you can’t prepare appropriately. In a risk assessment, your company will determine your key business objectives and identify the information technology assets that are essential to meeting these objectives. After this, you will identify cyber-attacks that could adversely impact those assets, determine the likelihood of those attacks occurring, and the impact the attack would have. In a nutshell, you’ll build a complete picture of the threat and the possible outcomes. After a risk assessment, you’ll be able to make informed choices about how and where to improve data security. While getting an external risk assessment is a good starting point, many businesses make it a practice to do regular self-assessments to make sure their current data security practices are still the right ones.

Put a Policy in Place for Data Storage Management

Wherever you have data stored, it needs to not only be organized, archived, and cataloged, but it needs to be protected from outside threats, system failures, and human error. When data is stored on the cloud, it can be particularly vulnerable to outside threats. Having a data storage management policy will effectively track all tasks related to moving and storing data. This usually includes who has access to the data, how and when the data can be retrieved, and any security measures that are put into place. Monitoring and encryption are the keys to data security.

Have a Clear Data Backup and Recovery Plan

Systems fail, and when they fail, your business can lose valuable data that will impact operations. These failures can happen due to file damage, data corruption, natural disaster, or cyberattacks. Having a data backup and recovery plan will help ensure your business can continue to operate without a lapse. No matter what your plan is for backing up, storing, and recovering the data, you want to set clear expectations and grant access to the right employees.

Plan for the Worst

An important step in your long-term strategy is outlining an incident response plan in case you fall victim to a data breach. While no one ever wants to get to this point, facing a data breach without a strategy to respond can put your business in an even more vulnerable place. Appoint an incident response team whose members each have defined roles and responsibilities. Start with the big picture and work through the details of who, what, when, and how. This plan should include a way to immediately neutralize the threat, assess the damage, back up the data, notify your customers, and re-secure your network. Conducting regular audits, drills, and exercises can help test your plan’s effectiveness.

Implement Data Lifecycle Management

The lifecycle of data sees the data through from initial data entry, through the use and storage of that data, and ending with secure data destruction. Having a data lifecycle management process in place will help you organize and track the data as it moves through each stage. This will usually include documentation of best practices for data security at every stage as well.

Data breaches can be devastating for businesses of any size. They not only cost your business financially from regulatory fines or legal penalties, but can lead to lost revenue, loss of intellectual property, and a damaged reputation. Cyberthreats continue to rise, with new attack methods being used all the time, and the best way that organizations can protect themselves is to be proactive, both with their strategies to prevent attacks, and in knowing what to do if they experience a data breach.

We recognize the importance of cybersecurity, and help guide businesses in performing self-assessments of their cybersecurity measures through a collaborative partnership with CSR Readiness Pro. While we do not conduct these assessments directly, we offer virtual tools to help companies thoroughly evaluate their current defenses. In the event of a data breach, CSR works with your response team to manage the fallout and secure the compromised data, aiming to minimize the impact on your business and customers. To learn more about how AccuShred can help you keep your data secure, contact us today.