Setting up protections against virtual risks is a prudent move for any business, regardless of its size. Each year, the number of cyberattacks continues to rise, greatly increasing any organization’s chance of being exposed to a security breach. Whether the interception comes from savvy hackers around the globe, or a careless employee drops the ball — it’s essential to be prepared.

Fortunately, companies can implement a few simple safety nets that will significantly reduce the potential for exposure to a virtual security breach. Here are five that you can apply starting today.

1) Destroy Obsolete Data Securely

Implementing an efficient and effective data destruction policy is one simple and straightforward way for your company to avoid a security breach. Securely destroying defunct data that are obsolete, expired or no longer required is a simple and affordable way to protect yourself from cybercrime since it means you’ve removed one direct avenue for exploitation and corruption.

2) Enforce Regular Data Back-ups

Depending on the type, one major challenge following a security breach is the loss of important data. This causes excess work for team members as they attempt to recapture important information. While regular backups to a hard drive won’t protect you from a breach, they’ll undoubtedly make the regroup following a security breach much smoother.

3) Encrypt Data

One relatively simple way to protect company data is by encrypting it. Encryption involves translating data into code. Only individuals with the password to this data can view it. This safety net is incredibly beneficial if remote team members rely heavily on online servers for communication.

4) Provide Team Training

Unfortunately, human error is one of the weakest links when it comes to a company’s security network. In fact, “a joint study by Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian has found that employee mistakes cause a whopping 88 percent of data breach incidents. Similar research by IBM Security puts the number at 95 percent.”

One common cause for an in-house security breach is team members being tricked by phishing emails. Hosting semi-frequent online security training for team members that shows them how to identify phishing scams can remove this potential inroad for cyberattacks.

5) Keep Systems Current

It’s important you take measures to implement vigorous virtual barriers; dated systems can leave you wide open to a ransomware attack.

By keeping systems up-to-date and installing robust anti-virus software, you’re already taking steps to reduce the potential for a virtual security breach. Without such blockades, hackers can access sensitive data via phishing scams or by exploiting a weak link in your data security. They can hold it ransom once they access your files until a fee is paid.

No business is above exposure to ransomware attacks. In 2021, CNA Financial reportedly paid a $40 million US fee to cyber criminals, and in 2023 Yum! Brands, the umbrella owner of companies like KFC and Taco Bell, had to close 300 UK restaurants due to a ransomware attack.

The Bottom Line

It’s reported that approximately 62% of US companies have experienced a cyber attack — phishing or otherwise —and that 43% of these attacks are aimed at small businesses.

A cyber security breach can harm your reputation and cost you money — think of the lost revenue and the time spent recouping lost data. It may even see you on the wrong side of the law. By taking steps like those outlined above toward developing a robust security plan, you’re heading in the right direction in thwarting potential hackers.

Review 5 Simple Safety Nets to Protect Your Business from a Cyber Security Breach.

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