How Companies Can Keep Their Data Safe

Companies of all sizes are faced with the rising threat of cyber attacks and data breaches and this can be hugely costly for a company. 

A 2022 report by IBM showed that the average cost of a data breach was $4.35 million. Whether it is money directly taken from the business or whether it is the potential costs to reverse the effects of this attack, the loss in customer loyalty and the process to rebuild your image, it can take a company years to recover in terms of reputation and financially. So, how can companies keep their data safe, and when should they hire experts to help?

Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the simplest ways to protect data is by using strong passwords. A weak password is like an open door for hackers. Hackers try to guess passwords through a process known as a brute force attack. Not only should organizations and individuals encourage strong and unique passwords, business owners should be recommending regular changing of passwords and multiple passwords for different devices, logins, softwares, accounts and more.

As a rule, a strong password has at least 12 characters with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Companies should also require multi-factor authentication (MFA). This means you need more than just a password to log in, like a code sent to your phone. According to Microsoft, MFA can block 99.9% of account attacks.

Regular Software Updates

Software updates often include security patches. These patches fix weaknesses that hackers could exploit. Companies should ensure all their software, including operating systems and applications, is updated regularly. This is actually a very common mistake for startups and automatic updates are a good idea, so companies don’t miss any important fixes.

Employee Training

Human error is one of the biggest risks to data security. Phishing scams, where hackers trick people into giving away sensitive information, are common. Companies should train employees to recognize these scams. A 2020 study by Verizon found that phishing caused 22% of data breaches. Training employees to be cautious with emails and links can greatly reduce this risk.

Secure Networks and Encryption

Companies need secure networks to protect data. Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for remote work is a good step. VPNs create a secure connection over the internet. Encryption is another key tool. It scrambles data, so even if hackers get it, they can’t read it without a special key. This is especially important for sensitive data like customer information or financial records.

Hiring Cybersecurity Experts

Sometimes, companies need outside help to keep their data safe. Cybersecurity companies specialize in protecting data and can offer expert advice. There are many reasons to hire cybersecurity experts:

  • Experience: They have experience dealing with a wide range of threats.
  • Advanced Tools: They use advanced tools to detect and prevent attacks.
  • Constant Monitoring: They can monitor a company’s systems 24/7 for any suspicious activity.
  • Incident Response: If a breach happens, they know how to respond quickly to minimize damage.

A 2021 report by the cybersecurity firm FireEye found that the average time to detect a data breach was 56 days. With cybersecurity experts, companies can reduce this time and respond more quickly to attacks.

Types of Checks That Cybersecurity Can Do

There are ways that cybersecurity companies can check the vulnerabilities of a company’s cyber infrastructure. This includes using penetration testing, to ‘penetrate’ into the servers and systems of a company or things such as red teaming or blue teaming where a company proposes a cyber attack to see how a client responds. 

The provider can see where there are any gaps and essentially provide ways to cover these, whilst causing zero damage to the client. 

Keeping data safe is a constant challenge for companies. Strong passwords, software updates, employee training, secure networks, and encryption are key steps. When extra help is needed, hiring cybersecurity experts can make a big difference. By taking these steps and partnering with the right experts, companies can greatly reduce the risk of data breaches and protect their valuable information.

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