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The Complete Guide to Data Breach Prevention

Data breaches are on the rise, and it's more important than ever for businesses to understand what these breaches are, what causes them, and how to prevent them from happening. In this article, we will explore the various causes of data breaches for businesses and discuss prevention techniques to avoid such attacks in the first place. We'll also walk through eight steps of what to do if your business has already experienced a breach.

What Is a Data Breach?

A data breach occurs when sensitive, confidential, or private information is unintentionally exposed or divulged. It could be a malicious attack from a hacker or an internal mishandling of data by an employee. Data breaches can cause serious financial and reputational damage to a business and put the privacy of customers' personal information at risk.

What Are Common Causes of Data Breaches

One of the most frequent causes of data breaches is poor security practices, such as neglecting to update systems with the latest security patches, using weak passwords, and failing encryption. Human error can also play a role if employees are not properly trained on how to handle sensitive information. Malicious attackers, such as hackers and cybercriminals, may seek out vulnerable networks to gain access to your systems and steal valuable customer data for their benefit.

The Importance of Data Breach Protection

In today's digital age, businesses of all sizes and types are at risk of experiencing a data breach. To protect their data and prevent unauthorized access, they need solutions that can identify vulnerabilities in their systems and implement measures to mitigate security risks. By investing in data breach protection, they can safeguard their data, maintain their customers' trust, and avoid costly legal and regulatory consequences.

If your business has already experienced an attack, or is just looking for data breach prevention techniques, a managed service provider is the way to go. Check out this article for everything you need to know about selecting an MSP.

Finding an IT Managed Service Provider

8 Steps to Take Following a Data Breach

Data breaches are a reality that all businesses must face. It's important to know what steps to take when one occurs, so that your business is properly protected and secure.

  1. Confirm the breach has happened: The first step you should always take when you receive a report of a data breach is to confirm that it has actually occurred. This can often be done by looking for signs such as missing files, suspicious log-in attempts from unknown IP addresses, or excessive data usage. It's also essential to determine the exact source of the breach and how long it has been going on to secure your system and prevent further harm.
  2. Find out what data was stolen: Once you've confirmed that a data breach has occurred, you must quickly find out what information was stolen and which accounts were affected. It's also important to identify who had access to this information and where it was stored so you can change passwords and remove sensitive documents from public folders.
  3. Secure log-Ins and passwords: As your business will likely have multiple people accessing the same systems, it's necessary to ensure that all log-ins and passwords are secure so no unauthorized individuals can gain access again in the future. This includes setting up two-factor authentication for all log-ins, creating unique passwords for each user account, and regularly changing passwords as needed.
  4. Freeze company credit: To protect against potential identity theft or fraud from the data breach, you should also freeze all company credit lines with major credit bureaus like Experian or Equifax to prevent any unauthorized use of financial accounts associated with your business.
  5. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): You should also file a report with the FTC regarding the data breach to document what happened and provide evidence of any actions your business took in response. Doing this will help ensure that law enforcement officials are aware of what took place in case any criminal activity is associated with the situation.
  6. Take special steps for Education IT Services: If your business specializes in educational IT services, such as providing online classes or tutoring services, there are additional steps you may need to take following a data breach. This includes notifying students about their rights under FERPA laws and taking steps like encrypting student records or setting up regular security audits for these services.
  7. Monitor accounts for suspicious activity: Be sure to monitor for suspicious activity, such as unauthorized access attempts or purchases made using stolen credentials, so that they can be reported immediately. Some businesses may opt to hire external security firms specializing in helping companies detect breaches.
  8. Delete old accounts: If any old accounts associated with your business haven't been used recently, they should be deleted completely since they could potentially provide attackers access to other parts of your system, even if they don't contain sensitive customer information themselves.

Data Breach Prevention Tips to Avoid Attacks

Cybersecurity threats are real and can have serious implications for businesses of all sizes. That’s why it’s important to take proactive data breach prevention measures.

Cybersecurity Threat Assessments

This assessment looks at all the potential risks that could cause a data breach. It considers external threats (such as malicious hackers) and internal threats (such as employees mishandling data).

Utilizing Anti-Virus Software

Another effective data breach prevention tip is to ensure that you have up-to-date antivirus software installed on all devices connected to your network. Regularly scan all devices for viruses and other malicious software, and watch for suspicious activity such as network slowdowns or unauthorized access attempts. Consider using firewalls and other protective hardware, such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), to prevent attackers from gaining access in the first place.

Patching Cycles

You should also pay close attention to vulnerability management processes and patching cycles to detect and fix any security vulnerabilities before they become exploitable by attackers. Regularly audit your systems for any weaknesses or flaws, apply relevant patches in a timely manner, and document all changes made.

Conduct Regular Training

No matter how secure your security measures may be, all personnel must receive regular training on cybersecurity best practices. Hence, everyone understands their role in preventing data breaches from occurring.

Onward Technology: The Top IT Company in Utah for Data Breach Prevention Solutions

Onward Technology is the best option for safeguarding your business from cybercriminals, thanks to our comprehensive risk assessments. Our team brings invaluable knowledge, unrivaled skill, and unwavering commitment to keeping your business safe as you pursue success in today's competitive market. Contact us today for the best data breach prevention measures.

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