Data Breaches Are a Major Cybersecurity Threat

Data breaches are one of the top cybersecurity threats that businesses have to worry about today. It is important for every business to have protections around these threats as well as proper response protocols. Hackers are becoming more inventive and innovative, so staying ahead of the game is difficult. You may not be able to protect against everything, but there are a few things you can do to ensure your business assets are protected.

The first major protection you can implement is creating awareness through training. Most data breaches are not the result of a big black hat hacker or nation state, most data breaches are the result of a phishing scheme or social engineering. So creating awareness about these schemes and training employees to know what to look for is a big part of ensuring these breaches cannot happen. During training, it’s not just recognition that is important, but also setting up reporting protocols so that when an attempt occurs, employees know where to send the information.

The second biggest protection is to define what normal is for your business. The abnormalities are the earliest symptom of a breach or a nefarious incident. And it can be caught when you recognize things out of the ordinary. In most modern attacks, the real window you have to defend closes when you can’t catch it early, by the time it’s obvious it’s over.

The third biggest protection is creating a culture of reporting. This means that people are reporting anything, whether it’s a phishing attempt or some other scheme or just anything that feels abnormal. If someone is asking for something they shouldn’t be, engaging in uncomfortable conversations or is overly probing, the culture should be to report, report, report.

The final biggest protection to have in place against a data breach involves software protection. This area may cost a bit more than some businesses can afford, however, it is worth the cost. Especially if you look at protections that can help to see if data related to your company is available on the dark web or is being sold somewhere, or if you’re seeing outward signs of exfiltration. This can be similar to discovering that money is being skimmed by seeing a low-level employee who is suddenly buying a large home or putting a pool in the back yard. Just knowing that the data is being sold online or that someone is saying they have data from you is huge. Intelligence gathering is a massive asset when all else fails. Being breached is bad enough, being the last one to know you were breached can be fatal. There are programs and systems out there that you can pay for to help alert your business to some of that information.

Data breaches are one of the top cybersecurity threats for any business, no matter how long it’s been around or how big it is. Setting up protections around these breaches plays a vital role in being able to not only spot them, but stop them from happening. Creating awareness through training, understanding what normal is, creating a culture of reporting and utilizing software protection will all go a long way toward protecting your business, clients and customers sensitive information.

About the Author

Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner of PWV Consultants, leads a boutique group of industry leaders and influencers from the digital tech, security and design industries that acts as trusted technical partners for many Fortune 500 companies, high-visibility startups, universities, defense agencies, and NGOs. He is a 20-year software engineering veteran, who founded or co-founder several companies. He acts as a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous early stage startups, and has held the titles of software and software security executive, consultant and professor. His expert consulting and advisory work spans several industries in finance, media, medical tech, and defense contracting. Has also authored the highly influential precursor HAZL (jADE) programming language.

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