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The Data is in, Data Breaches Are on the Rise

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The Data is in, Data Breaches Are on the Rise

More and more businesses and government entities are getting hacked. Here are three simple ways to start doing something about it.

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Earlier this month, it was reported that PHI data breaches are on the rise in a big way. It’s estimated that 90 percent of industries have experienced a data breach to some level. A company's private files must stay private. It is also vital for every company to protect the personal information of their customers. If data servers are compromised, the results could be catastrophic. If there is a data breach, a company could suffer long-term consequences.

Customers want to know their personal information, such as bank information, is safe. A data breach could cause a company to lose credibility. This loss of credibility will result in a loss of clients. Losing clients could cause any company, no matter how successful, to go out of business.

If you’re like most businesses, your network setup is far from ideal. Cybercriminals will always try to find a weakness that will allow them gain unauthorized access to private data. On the other hand, network security experts are always trying to fix these weaknesses. This cat and mouse game has been going on for some time.

Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more complex and more common. In fact, it seems that nobody is safe from these data breaches. Over 4 million federal employees had their social security numbers stolen. With these attacks on the rise, what can security experts do to safeguard their data? While this is no way to ensure a data breach will not occur, there are things that can be done to reduce the window of opportunity for cybercriminals to make a move.

Below are three ways to prevent a data breach.

1. Data Encryption

Data encryption is a great way to prevent a data breach. Data encryption should be a standard practice for any company with important data. Encryption should be used on all company servers. Encryption policies should also be enforced on any personal devices employees use for work. If anyone gains unauthorized access to encrypted data, they will not be able to do anything with it.

Furthermore, a proper encryption algorithm will ensure that important data is safe. When data is encrypted, the code that makes up the data is scrambled. The only way to unscramble the data is to use the decryption key that was set up by the data security expert.

2. Employee Training

Having properly trained employees is vital in the protection of important data. You could have the most secure system in the world, but if your employees are not trained properly, it is all for nothing. An employee who is not properly trained may inadvertently leave openings that cybercriminals can exploit.

In fact, cyber criminals will often target less tech-savvy employees in an attempt to gain access to a company's private data. Cybercriminals have several methods to manipulate employees. For example, they could send spoofed e-mails claiming to be from the information technology department. Without proper training, employees will not know any better. They may end up handing the cybercriminal the keys to the private data.

3. Vulnerability Test

Conducting regular vulnerability testing is an important part of any network security plan. Without proper vulnerability testing, companies will not be able to find the weaknesses that could be used to gain access to their systems. There is always a vulnerability. If a company does not find the vulnerability, then a cybercriminal will. Therefore, the network security team must find the vulnerabilities first, so they will be able to fix them.

A lot of companies are not sure how often they should do a vulnerability test. Most of them only do vulnerability tests four times a year. If you are serious about protecting your data, four times a year is not enough. New vulnerabilities are discovered on a daily basis. A good network security plan involves performing vulnerability tests at least once a week. Every system should be checked. This might seem time-consuming and costly. However, the cost of a data breach will be much higher.

With these simple steps, organizations can not only protect their data, but their business as well.

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Topics:
data breaches ,security best practices ,security

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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