A data breach of your company’s network can become a nightmare. Regulatory guidelines such as SOX for publicly traded companies or HIPAA for the healthcare industry require that you not only follow the latest security standards, but report every data breach. This can not only cost you many customers, but if you’re found to be non-compliant, you could be looking at some heavy fines. Here are some ways to prevent breaches at your organization.
It’s important to have all the necessary protective software in place. This should include antivirus or antimalware, firewalls, and automatic user logs for tracking what data gets accessed, when, and by whom. This software needs to be updated occasionally to reflect improvements that capture the latest threats. The same is true for your operating systems and applications. Wherever possible, configure your software for automatic updates. You should also install remote-wipe applications on mobile devices so that you can delete information in the event these devices are lost or stolen.
Confidential data should always be stored in encrypted data volumes and shared only over encrypted channels. Encryption uses complex algorithms to transform data into meaningless strings that can’t be decrypted without the right pair of alphanumeric keys. This means that any data that is intercepted or stolen will be worthless to the thieves. Sensitive information like passwords, user data, credit accounts, or payment card information should always be encrypted. It’s also recommended that you don’t store sensitive information that you don’t need.
One way to protect communications with your business network is by installing a virtual private network for all communication over the internet, such as with publicly hosted websites or remote workers. A VPN establishes a channel that automatically uses encryption for all data exchange. VPNs are a cost efficient, user friendly, and scalable solution for keeping your network secure.
Most data breaches are caused by human error or carelessness. Part of your IT security should involve training your workforce on how implement strong passwords, rules for sharing information, and the ability to identify risks such as suspicious links or scams. Information security awareness training from places like Global Learning Systems should be provided to all employees, both as part of onboarding new hires and reminding veteran employees of existing security policy.
It’s crucial to keep up with government regulations, as they are often being upgraded and changed. Having a designated compliance officer for your IT infrastructure can help to make this easier to manage.