The cost of a data breach can be substantial, especially as this is something that can continue to affect a business and its reputation even after the initial issue has been managed. Security breaches that involve data theft or loss are becoming increasingly common today – one in four companies is now likely to be affected by one. So, what steps can you take to prevent a data breach and make your business more secure?
1. Carry out a comprehensive risk assessment
The first step towards preventing a data breach is identifying where this could potentially occur. If you’re working with a lot of customer data this could become a target for hackers – the loss of this type of data could lead to identity theft issues for those customers. Where data is essential for staff to carry out their roles this could also be a vulnerability as a target for ransomware, for example. By identifying where the business is most at risk, steps can be taken to ensure data is properly protected.
2. Put safeguards in place
This could be firewalls and virus protection software, data protection policies or ensuring that you have a regular schedule in place for installing updates and patches. With physical data – such as documents and papers – key safeguards will include restricting access and creating a shredding policy so that data doesn’t leave the premises in accessible form.
3. Re-evaluate existing security
It’s important to regularly review how data is collected and managed within the business, as this may change over time. Regular staff training can turn your workforce into the first line of defence against data breach – as opposed to a potential vulnerability – and it’s important to stay on top of the most current threats, as these change all the time. A document management policy that ensures a secure chain of custody for physical data will be essential – working with a shredding partner provides peace of mind when it comes to paper document destruction.
4. Respond quickly
If the worst does happen and a data breach occurs it will be crucial to be able to identify where the issue has originated from as quickly as possible. This could be a software breach, a lost device or something as simple as a document left on public transport. Having an incident response team in place is one of the top cost reducing factors when it comes to data breach. The sooner the data breach can be managed, the less damage it is likely to do.
5. Ensure compliance requirements are met
New regulation, such as the GDPR, may place specific requirements on your business in the event of a data breach, such as notifying the relevant authority. Make sure that these are clearly understood beforehand so that any security issues aren’t compounded by a compliance breach too.
Secure document disposal is an essential component in protecting your business from the dangers of a data breach. When combined with digital threat protection it can provide comprehensive prevention against the most significant threats.