Data Breach: What Happens And How You Can Prevent It

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Data Breach

Data is an essential aspect of any business. There are various ways you can use large data sets to enhance business performance. Data can help managers solve problems, make better decisions, and generate more profits, which in turn, could improve your business. Statistics from consumers could confirm which products or services appeal to them.  

Because data has such a strong foothold in the business community, many businesses find that a reliable cyber security company could help ensure their company data is safe from any form of possible cyberattacks. One common cyberattack is a data breach. In this article, you’ll learn what a data breach is and how to prevent them from harming your business.   

What Is A Data Breach And How Does It Happen

A data breach is an unauthorized release of confidential or secure personal or professional information to an untrusted environment. The information could include details like credit card or social security numbers, bank account details, business sales, and other confidential business information. This kind of breach may cause severe damage to the business.  

In general, data breaches can happen due to weaknesses in technology or user behavior. The most common form of data breach occurs when personnel accidentally download corrupted electronic media. These electronic media may include viruses, malware, spyware, adware, or a computer program that disrupts the operation of a computer. When this happens, the attacker gains access to data and can edit or even steal them for financial gain. 

Some businesses don’t bother investing in security infrastructure and technology. Some of them have failed to implement adequate network and security configurations. Often, the configuration management fails to detect and eliminate the vulnerabilities that are causing data leaks. 

Types of Data Breaches

Data breaches can occur in various forms, but they can be generally classified into two categories: Physical data breaches and Cyber data breaches.

Physical data breaches

Physical data breaches occur when physical devices that contain sensitive information are lost, stolen, or accessed without authorization.

This type of breach can happen to any physical device that contains confidential data, such as laptops, smartphones, USB drives, and paper documents.

Here are some types of physical data breaches:

  • Lost or stolen devices: When a device such as a laptop, smartphone, or USB drive is lost or stolen. If the device contains confidential data, it can potentially expose sensitive information to unauthorized individuals.
  • Unsecured disposal of data: This type of physical data breach happens when confidential documents, files, or devices are not disposed of properly. For example, documents that contain sensitive information may be improperly disposed of in a public trash bin or left in an unsecured area.
  • Inadequate physical security: Main reason is physical access to confidential data not competently controlled. This can happen if a server room or data center is not properly secured, or if employees are not properly trained in physical security practices.
  • Social engineering: When the attackers use social engineering techniques to gain physical access to sensitive information of yours, this breach happens. For example, an attacker may pose as an employee or a vendor to gain access to restricted areas.
  • Insider threat: This can happen if an employee steals or shares confidential data.

Cyber Data Breaches

Cyber data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals gain access to digital systems or networks and steal or compromise confidential data. It happen to any organization that stores or processes data digitally, including companies, government agencies, and educational institutions.

Here are some types of cyber data breaches:

  • Malware attacks: Malware is a type of software that is designed to harm or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. Malware can be introduced into a system through email attachments, software downloads, or malicious websites. Once installed, it can allow cyber criminals to steal confidential data or take control of a system.
  • Phishing attacks: Phishing is a social engineering technique where attackers create fake websites, emails, or other communications to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card numbers. These attacks can be difficult to detect because they often appear to be legitimate.
  • Denial-of-service attacks: A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is when an attacker overwhelms a server or network with traffic, rendering it unavailable to legitimate users. This type of attack can be used to disrupt business operations or as a cover for more sophisticated attacks.
  • SQL injection attacks: SQL injection is a type of attack where an attacker injects malicious code into a website or application’s database. Once the code is injected, it can allow the attacker to access sensitive data or take control of the system.
  • Insider threat: An insider threat is when an employee by mistake install malware into the system.

How Can You Prevent Data Breaches

Since data is critical to the success of any business, it’s essential to ensure that it’s safe from different types of cyberattacks like a data breach. These are the ways you can prevent this from happening:  

  • Conduct Data Security Awareness Training For Employees

The main aim of the awareness training program is to sensitize the employees about the dangers and benefits of information security.

The training helps the employees in avoiding mistakes made by them.

For instance, training the employees on how to implement and store important information on the company networks will be much safer and more effective.

They’ll also learn to be aware of the risks when they don’t ensure their network or data security.  

  • Implement Data Security Policies

One of the most important ways to protect your business information is by implementing security policies and procedures that deal specifically with the type of information you want to protect and how that information should be protected. 

For instance, if you are dealing with financial data, it’s essential to secure your hard drive from being accessed by anyone other than the people who need to have the information. Therefore, any human error should be avoided whenever possible. 

As an example, you can implement policies regarding unauthorized access to the network. The idea is only to give access to data to certain people in the business. 

MFA or multi-factor authentication is also one strategy that many IT (Information Technology) departments have adopted to protect their most sensitive data from unauthorized access.   

  • Implement strong passwords

Implementing strong passwords is an important step in preventing data breaches. A strong password is one that is difficult for cyber criminals to guess or crack, making it more secure and less vulnerable to unauthorized access.

By implementing strong passwords, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches caused by password-related vulnerabilities. For example, cyber criminals may use stolen or weak passwords to gain access to user accounts and steal confidential data. Strong passwords can prevent this type of attack by making it more difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access.

  • Use Security Software

To protect against this particular type of cyber-attack, businesses should implement antivirus and anti-spyware software on their computer networks.

Antivirus software typically scans for malware such as viruses, spyware, and adware.

It also checks for malicious code embedded in files that could harm the user’s computer or expose them to viruses.

Small businesses should also make sure that their antivirus software is updated regularly and that it performs signature detection to ensure that it’s protecting the company from all threats. 

  • Regularly update software and systems

Regularly updating software and systems is an essential step in preventing data breaches. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in software and systems to gain unauthorized access to confidential data.

Software updates and patches often contain security fixes and enhancements that address these vulnerabilities and protect against attacks. This can help prevent cyber criminals from exploiting these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems and steal confidential data.

Software updates can also provide new security features that further enhance the security of an organization’s systems and data. For example, updates may include improvements to encryption algorithms, access controls, and intrusion detection systems.

Outdated software can be more prone to errors and crashes, leading to downtime and potential data loss. To ensure that software and systems are up to date, organizations should establish a regular software update schedule and implement automated updates where possible.

  • Encrypt Your Data

Data encryption is the act of encrypting data into an unbreakable code that prevents access by unauthorized parties.

Encryption works by scrambling data before transmission and is achieved by performing mathematical transformations on data, converting them into a form that cannot be read back directly.

Encrypted data can’t be hacked into and read without the appropriate credentials such as an access key or password. 

Conduct regular security audits

Conducting regular security audits is a crucial step in preventing data breaches. Security audits are comprehensive evaluations of an organization’s security systems and processes to identify vulnerabilities, risks, and potential threats.

By conducting regular security audits, organizations can identify weaknesses in their security posture and take steps to address them before a data breach occurs. Security audits typically involve a thorough review of an organization’s security policies and procedures, physical security controls, and technical security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and access controls.

Security audits can also help ensure that an organization is compliant with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards.

Final Thoughts 

Data loss is a significant concern for any company. No business wants to find out that all of the company’s valuable information has been lost or stolen. That’s why companies need to employ different ways to ensure that their data is secured. 

First, they need to train their employees in security awareness to understand the risks and the steps they need to take to keep their data safe.

Next, businesses should have data security policies, including the use of strong passwords, use of security applications, and data encryption.