Data security continues to be a hot button issue today. However, not many businesses, especially small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), realize its importance. In fact, recent findings suggest that only 15% of companies are adequately prepared for a cyberattack. Considering the proliferation of risks and threats, this shouldn’t be the case. Data breaches can result in the loss of millions, or even billions of private records that contain sensitive data. More than affecting the victimized company, data breaches adversely impact those whose data were stolen.
The importance of data security
Companies need utmost data security to protect trade secrets, adhere to compliance requirements, and maintain customer trust. Privacy and data protection laws have evolved and now require businesses that collect data from customers to ensure that information, be it stored or in transit, is kept confidential. Failing to do so can lead to serious legal consequences, including hefty penalties and fines.
As the impacts of data security threats continue to expand exponentially, it’s time your business takes immediate action to protect your data. With this security mindset, here’s a look at the most common data security risks your business must be protected against, as well as approaches to enhance your data security efforts.
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt in which an attacker sends out bogus emails, calls, or text messages to distribute links to spoofed login pages or attachments laced with malware that can pilfer login credentials or account information from victims.
Whether you’re a large enterprise or an SMB, phishing is a very real and costly threat. Based on reports, $17,700 is lost every minute due to phishing attacks. Phishing comes in various forms:
- Spear phishing – targets a specific individual or organization
- Business email compromise (BEC) or CEO fraud – impersonates C-suite executives to trick fund handlers to conduct wire transfers
- Clone phishing – sends a copy of a legitimate email message from an organization, but the illicit copy has an additional link that leads to a malicious website
- Smishing – tricks users into providing sensitive information via text or SMS message
While your employees are your biggest assets, they’re also your weakest link when it comes to security. Most human errors are innocent — an employee absentmindedly opens a legitimate-looking attachment or an eager HR staff releases confidential information while responding to an email that appears to be from an executive — but they don’t often realize the risk their actions have on the company’s security posture. This could be attributed to a lack of training and education about the evolving threats, where a single mistake could spell a huge disaster.
Patch management system lapses
Data security isn’t just about protecting against hackers. To truly secure your business, you must take appropriate steps to protect your network, systems, and devices. Routers, servers, printers, and employees’ devices that use software or firmware as part of their operation must go through proper patch management, which is a process of managing a network of computers and devices by regularly deploying all missing patches to keep computers up to date.
In line with the saying “if you’re going to do it more than once, automate it,” you should automate patch management to avoid data breaches.
IT compliance is becoming the forgotten stepchild of cybersecurity. It doesn’t get as much attention as data breach prevention solutions, even if laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and similar regulations are being enacted in response to growing concerns about privacy and misuse of personal data.
To ensure data security, your business must adhere to the latest regulations set by the government, regulatory bodies, and law enforcement, which includes making sure that everyone in your organization is aware of such policies.
How can you protect your business this 2020?
It will take time and resources to bolster your company’s data security defenses. In the long run, however, the financial and security risks associated with leaving your data vulnerable make it fundamental to protect it.
If you believe that your business lacks the expertise needed to successfully mitigate the latest data security threats, Graphus is the right partner to talk to.