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Mitigating Data Breach Risk


Organizations of all sizes are susceptible to cyber attacks and a breach of their data if it is digitally stored on their own servers or accessed through the cloud. Combine that with sensitive material used on laptops or mobile devices and the risk jumps even higher. Companies must be diligent in securing information that they use. Without due diligence, the cost of just a single data breach could be highly detrimental.

Annually Assess Security Risk

Data breaches can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue when a cyber attack does occur and data is stolen. Money will have to be spent on items such as the following:

  • Public Relations
  • Legal Defense
  • Identity or Credit Monitoring
  • Call Centers
  • Notifying Third Parties
  • Breach Examination

To alleviate the chance of a breach, it’s best to assess the security risk associated with the data that a company stores. On a macro level, an annual assessment will identify the type of data that is held by an organization, how that data is utilized and how it is currently protected. The assessment will identify the potential for a breach and indicate any weak points in the IT infrastructure of a business. Also, an assessment provides identification of the regulatory and legal requirements associated with protecting data. However, protection can’t stop there.

On a micro level, steps must be initiated on a daily or weekly basis to help a company thwart the threats of data loss:

Create Strong Passwords – Companies should require strong passwords for all access points of data on their system.
Device Tracking – All devices used by employees should be tracked.
Network Protection – Firewalls and VPNs should be used to secure sensitive data.
Secure Facilities – Brick-and-mortar facilities should be locked and protected.
Device Disposal – When a device is being retired, all information located on the device must be securely wiped.
Secure IT Equipment – Any electronic equipment holding sensitive data must be physically secured or protected.
Employee Screening – Screening protocols must be used to assess employee risk before hiring them.
Investigate Suspicious Network Activity – Real-time alerts can inform a company if suspicious activity is present on their system.
Enforce IT Policies – Patch management, firewall configurations and password settings should follow strict procedures.
Integrate Response Strategies – A response plan should be formed.

Storing and utilizing data in this digital world does have a number of benefits but does come with vulnerability that must be protected.

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