The Dangers of Data Breaches and How to Prevent Them

data breachDon’t take data breaches lightly. It can ruin your business.

It is alarming to note that small and medium-sized businesses are fast becoming the favorite targets among cybercriminals. According to a news report published in Business News Daily, 75% of data breaches affect small businesses, and 76% of those attacks can be traced back to compromised passwords. Studies also show that restaurants and retail establishments are among those that experience the most breaches.

Understanding the Dangers of Data Breaches

Cybercriminals pry on small businesses simply because they store too much valuable information. Small businesses routinely keep their customers’ credit card and bank account numbers, intellectual property, and other such information, without taking necessary measures to secure the data.

Data breaches are prevalent because they serve as a lucrative source of income for hackers. Studies show that more than 28,000 records are stolen per data breach and each stolen record costs $188 on average. Do the math and you can easily see how these all add up.

It is also interesting to note that while 77% of the small business owners who responded to the said survey say they know that installing cybersecurity measures will be good for their business, only 17% have actually secured their data.

A single data breach can cause a small business to fold. In fact, studies indicate that 60% of small business owners who were maliciously attacked by cybercriminals will inevitably close their doors within six months.

How Can You Prevent These Things from Happening?

You can better protect your business from these malicious attacks by following these tips:

  • Assess your company’s data breach risks. Look beyond your IT department to effectively eliminate all threats. Evaluate your company’s employee exit strategies as well as your on- and off-site data storage practices, and enforce new cybersecurity policies in place.
  • Keep everything safe. Keep your facilities under lock and key, protect your network by utilizing firewalls and virtual private networks (VPN) and secure physical devices to protect your data. If you are going to keep sensitive data, make sure it is properly encrypted. Protect your data in every way you can.
  • Provide proper training. Train your employees to use strong passwords and do not allow them to write down passwords in the office. You should also educate them on how to identify and avoid dangerous phishing and pharming scams.
  • Minimize your data. To discourage thieves from targeting your business, you should keep as little data as possible. Consider reducing the number of places that you use to retain the data and restrict employee access to sensitive data. Credit reports and other sensitive data should also be shredded before disposal.
  • Keep current. Keep your security software updated to prevent malicious attacks.?