7 Ways To Help Avoid A Data Breach

Posted on: July 15th, 2019

If it seems the need for cybersecurity is growing, it is. The number of consumer records exposed due to data breaches rose 126 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, and large organizations aren’t the only targets for cybercriminals. A 2018 report found that 58 percent of all data breaches occurred at small businesses.* Here are some tips to help protect your business:

  1. Develop IT security policies. The basics may include multilayered endpoint security, network security, encryption and strong authentication technologies. Look into the IT security policies of your vendors to help ensure they don’t expose you to unnecessary risk. You may want to hire a reputable cybersecurity firm to review your potential vulnerabilities and/or manage your IT security if you don’t have sufficient internal resources.
  2. Train employees and enforce strict internal controls. In a report on cybersecurity for small and medium-sized businesses, 54 percent of information technology leaders reported that negligent employees or contractors were the root cause of data breaches they experienced.** Create policies for strong password creation as well as email and social media usage. Ensure employees are aware of the policies and the consequences of failing to adhere to them.
  3. Consider carefully the data you collect and store. The more sensitive information you keep, the greater the risk to you and your customers if a breach occurs. Encrypt the information you must keep and restrict access to only those who need it.
  4. Monitor, monitor, monitor. Although your current procedures may be effective, hackers come up with new and ingenious ways to attack data every day. Your IT team should constantly monitor IT security using automated and manual checks and react immediately should a threat be suspected or detected.
  5. Create a response protocol. Your IT team, along with input from other departments such as human resources, marketing, corporate communications, legal and management, should have a policy in place for reacting to cyberthreats. This includes stopping them, correcting internal policies and communicating with the public when necessary.
  6. Use the latest technology. For example, many businesses replaced magnetic card readers with more secure chip card readers by Oct. 1, 2015, to comply with EMV standards set by credit card companies. Those that have not updated their terminals and continue to only accept magnetic stripe cards may be liable should counterfeit fraud occur. About two years after the recommended transition to chip readers, only half of all merchant locations were ready to process chip card payments.***
  7. Purchase cyber liability insurance. IMB Security’s 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study found that the average cost of each record stolen in a data breach was $148, which adds up quickly if you have a large customer base. Talk to your risk management and IT teams about the impact of potential breaches to determine the type of coverage your organization may need. This may include coverage for the costs associated with a breach, the expense of updating or replacing business assets, business interruption, liability and/or cyber extortion or cyber terrorism.

Although there are no guarantees, taking commonsense measures can help protect your business from a cyberattack. Be assured that Seaside National Bank & Trust takes IT security seriously and has robust measures in place to protect your accounts and personal information.

* Source: Verizon.
** Source: Keeper Security.
*** Source: CreditCards.com.

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