With businesses of all sizes shifting their operations online, it has become easy for them to reach new and larger markets and work more effectively with computer-based tools. Enterprises use tools like broadband, websites, cloud computing, emails, and internal communication software to complete their jobs efficiently.
But with convenience comes pitfalls. Cyber attackers lurk in the network to find the proverbial chink in the armor to leak valuable data and funds from your servers. It makes cyber security a prominent factor in your business process.
Relevance of Cyber Protection
As we head into 2024, the data breach threat landscape has shifted to a new pinnacle. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated and hard to stop. The start of 2023 saw a massive jump of 40% in phishing and smishing in the US.
Data breach consequences can be devastating for a business. Merchants have incurred financial losses, reputation damages, and legal liabilities over the past years. The answer to this dilemma is establishing robust data security measures.
In this blog, we’ll explore ten top and popular best practices to help you fortify your defenses against data breaches in 2024.
Role of Managed IT Services
The most common reasons for data breaches include cyber hacking, malware attacks, or even human error. The increased assistance from AI has boosted the incidence of cyber-attacks. Businesses have started outsourcing their security system installation, monitoring, and maintenance to external agencies. This move helps companies free up expert resources for strategic decisions and reduce budgetary expenses. The security of the company will rest with an expert team.
Use the help of seasoned managed IT services in Philadelphia, if your business is from the area, to install the best possible protection optimized to the location.
Top Tips to Protect Your Business Against Data Breaches
Now, let us look at the things to remember while employing a cyber security plan for your organization.
Comprehensive Cybersecurity Framework
Assess and identify the weak points in your current security network. With the help of an internal or external team, put together a thorough cybersecurity framework covering all the essential bases. The plan should comprise recommendations for updated control of access, login authentication, and data encryption.
Build Employee Awareness
Cybercriminals always identify the weakest points of your security process for attack – your employees. They convert human error into opportunities. Create awareness among employees on how to look for red flags like phishing attacks and reporting such situations. Conduct periodic awareness training and encourage strong passwords and safe browsing habits. Instigate penalties for non-adherence to cybersecurity guidelines.
Restrict Access Control
Reduce the number of individuals authorized to access sensitive data. The lesser the access, the lower the chances of a cyber attack resulting from unauthorized access. Establishing a layered security system depending on the organizational roles and hierarchy limits data access. Update access permissions according to role changes or when employees leave your organization.
Periodic Software and Patch Update
Vulnerabilities in software applications, operating systems, and plugins are the prime targets for hackers. An efficient patch management system can tackle this problem. You can employ an MSP or automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities frequently and update patches and software. Replace unsupported and obsolete software with newer versions to shield your system from evolving attacks.
Sensitive Data Encryption
With remote work culture gaining popularity and data stored in various locations, this becomes an important step. Data encryption converts data into codes undecipherable by cyber attackers. They can be decrypted only with the appropriate keys. Use SSL or TLS protocols to ensure end-to-end encryption for communication and encryption-at-rest for data storage. Cover all data stored on servers, in transit, or portable devices.
Periodic Audits and Remote Monitoring
A seasoned managed IT services team will help you in conducting network and application audits to flag vulnerabilities. It is a preventive approach that includes 24/7 remote monitoring. Finding the weak points, clearing them in advance, and updating your cybersecurity strategy will improve protection against data breaches.
Implementing Strong Passwords and MFA
Strong passwords are a must for data breach protection. Create strong passwords that include letters, numerals, and special characters. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) provides extra reinforcement to the passwords. MFA will require users to key in multiple identification forms, like passwords, security questions, or biometric components, to gain access.
Installing Firewalls for Internet Connections
A firewall stops external users from accessing data on your private network. Make sure to enable your operating system’s firewall. You can also install the free firewall software available online. Also, ensure that a firewall protects your remote workforce.
Regular Data Management
For updated data security, you should make it a practice to delete irrelevant information from your database. Confidential data storage should be limited to specific locations. It is mandatory to keep these locations under vigilant surveillance. Destroy unwanted confidential data skillfully before disposing of them. Regularly back up all important information from all your computers and store them safely off-site or in the cloud.
Robust Incident Response Plan
Despite taking all measures to curb data breach, it might still occur. You will need a well-defined incident response to expedite recovery and minimize the damage. The plan should have a solid strategy for acting in case of breach, notifying the related parties, involving law enforcement, and forensic analysis. You should also take care to keep the plan tested and updated regularly.
As we approach 2024, the threat of business data breaches looms larger than ever. Cybercriminals are more relentless in accessing sensitive data or organizing fund thefts. Protecting your business from data breaches is a continuous process that needs constant monitoring, vigilance, updating, and adaptation. Merchants need to keep themselves informed about emerging threats.
However, we are confident you can bolster your organization’s defenses against data breaches by implementing the top best practices discussed in this blog. Do not hesitate to invest in the latest security technologies and foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness among your employees. Get help from an internal or external expert team or managed IT services to keep your tactics current. These measures will prepare you to face the challenges of 2024 and beyond, safeguarding your business from the potentially devastating consequences of data breaches.