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How to protect your business from data breaches

Adam Groff
|Sep 30|magazine9 min read

Whether you call them hackers, cyber criminals, or digital delinquents, there are people out there who can put your business's online livelihood at risk.

Fortunately, there are also a number of ways your management team can avoid security breaches and keep your digital domain safe and sound.

When it comes to defending your data, here are a handful of reasons why data security is so important for your business:

Security breach statistics

Massive online security breaches at major corporations seem to make breaking news every day. Whether it's a virus that plagues an entire business or data breaches that expose sensitive customer information, security issues are happening more often than not in today's world.

In fact, according to a report from the New York Times, there were more than 600 confirmed data breaches in 2013 alone ranging from small businesses to worldwide corporations. Additionally, there were a whopping 47,000 other company breaches that were defined as minor "security threats."

The major businesses that made headlines, like Target and eBay, only scratch the surface of the problem. No business is too large or small to be the target of a data security breach and there are a number of security threats on the horizon.

Before the following threats scare you into submission, it's important to remember that security and usability must meet in the middle, as the following article “Data Protection and Privacy: Balancing Security and Usability” shows.

Taking the appropriate security measures doesn't mean your employees can longer bring their personal devices to work. Likewise, it doesn't mean your staff has to jump through encrypted password hoops just to gain access to the system. Vigilance is the key to a secure network and safe data.

Cloud threats

As the popularity of cloud computing takes over the business world, more and more hackers are turning their sights toward the cloud. Cloud databases are growing with each new business, which gives cyber criminals an opportunity to slip through the ever-growing cracks.

Protecting your business's cloud data means making sure your service provider is taking all the appropriate security measures for even the most sophisticated threats. When it comes to the cloud, your service provider is your business's first line of defense.

Socially engineered attacks

If your business is active on social media, then you need to take social safety measures as well. Hackers are scouring social networks looking for any signs of information they can use to gain further access into a business's online world. This involves hacking into your employees' social accounts to retrieve information from personal messages.

In addition, some cyber criminals are falsely approaching other employees on social media with the hopes they'll divulge information about the company.

Persistent attacks

Something cyber criminals have learned over the years is that persistence goes a long way when it comes to data breaches. Known as advanced persistent attacks, hackers are entering business networks via software programs and slowly stealing data a little at a time.

These persistent attacks target popular office software programs like Microsoft Office. Anytime the program is in use, hackers are able to retrieve data from the system undetected. Updating and running anti-viral software regularly will help your business detect and eliminate this threat.

If your company is taking a relaxed approach to its data security, then hopefully the threats above make you reconsider your security measures.

Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including cyber security and business