How to Avoid a Business Data Breach

It is difficult to deny the fact that there have been more catastrophic cases of data breaches in the last few years than ever before. The number of attacks and breaches continues to increase exponentially, despite the increasing awareness of better information security. Over 90% of business operations are now stored digitally, so this increase is not surprising.

What’s surprising is how so many businesses still take information security lightly. After the 2013 Yahoo data breach and the recent Equifax hack, operating without proper security measures in place is no longer acceptable. Here are the steps you can take to better prevent data breaches in your company.

A Better Structure

Gone are the days of pooling all information in one server and allowing everyone the same level of access. Thanks to better file management and new information security technologies, companies can implement a much more advanced structuring across their organization.

You start by organizing data into compartments based on the needs of the organization. A content management system or a more comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can be used to manage not just operational data but also user access.

A better information structure allows you to manage access to sensitive information meticulously. Finance officers can only access information assigned to their department. Access to sales reports, for example, will require a special permission; this special permission can be granted on a temporary basis for better security.

The Right Measures

If you followed the full report on Yahoo’s data breach on, you should find it easy to see some of the prominent causes of that hack and how you can avoid them. The lack of sufficient security measures was to blame in this case (and many other cases).

There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to protecting business information. A good way to start is by adding encryption for better file protection, followed by the use of SSL security to further secure data transmissions. Multiple redundancies, on the other hand, can act as additional layers of protection. These measures can block the majority of cyber attacks very effectively.

Having a comprehensive information security policy is also a must. The policy must dictate how sensitive data is to be handled, including internal and external transfers of files. Once a comprehensive policy is in place, it is time to tackle the third part of the equation.

Preventing Human Error

That third part is human error. There are many cases of information theft that started with a simple human error. The Equifax hack – one that left more than 140 million people exposed – is a good example.

Having a good policy and comprehensive security measures are not enough. The people within the organization must also understand and maintain information security best practices at all times. This includes setting strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access and not sharing that password, even with authorized parties.

The impact of a catastrophic data breach is, well, catastrophic. When Verizon discovered the data breach at Yahoo, the company lowered its offer by a whopping $1 billion. It is time to take a more serious approach to protecting the safety and smooth operations of your business in the digital age.

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