When it comes to solving operational problems, pinpointing the issue should be the natural first step. Identifying what you are battling against makes it easier to come up with sustainable and actionable solutions. Moreover, this step is crucial in developing preventative measures that would minimize the chances of coming across the same problem. These sentiments ring true, especially for data breaches.
For the most part, no two security breaches are entirely the same. There are several ways data can be compromised – not all of which are because of hackers and attacks.
Common Forms of Data Breaches
As they say, knowing the enemy is half the battle won. To truly develop impermeable cybersecurity measures, it is crucial to be aware of what to look out for:
People assume that most recent data breaches are a result of deliberate cyber-attacks. However, contrary to popular belief, compromised information can be a product of offline incidents that involve minimal technology.
Take multinational companies, for example. For large operations, it can be challenging to keep track of every file and every device. A business of 500 people requires 500 laptops – or more. In a bevy of screens, it is easy to overlook a unit. Given the opportunity, some malicious individuals can take a computer and exploit sensitive information found in it.
Similar to offline breaches, compromised data isn’t always a product of deliberate malicious intent. Often, corporations fail to understand the threats of allowing employees access to sensitive information.
There are two ways your employees can exploit their access to data. For one, workers with legitimate authorization can misuse the data they are allowed to view. In these instances, information is breached more often than not because of the lack of security measures and access protocols.
On the other hand, some workers would deliberately ignore access rules and procure data they are not authorized to view. They can copy, share, delete, or edit data that can damage operations, both deliberately or accidentally.
Malicious Software aka Malware
When people think of cyberattacks, more often than not, they refer to the introduction of malicious software, aka malware. According to research, the use of malware accounts is the fourth most common cause of data breaches.
From ransomware to classic computer viruses, malware can take many forms. Most of the time, these deliberate attacks use sensitive information to gain financial compensation from their victims.
Forms of Phishing
The success of a data breach is rarely a product of a well-designed string of code. More often than not, hackers appeal to familiar social cues to get sensitive information they need. Phishing is a prime example of attackers acting as they belong.
Most phishing attacks involve emailing the target with false information and narrative to coax them into surrendering data. The main goal of these types of attacks is usually to steal financial information from their victims.
Despite the most stringent security protocols and protective measures, data breaches can occur from simple human error. There have been instances wherein sensitive information is sent to the wrong parties. More often than not, there is no maliciousness involved, and these instances are mere mistakes.
Deliberate Malicious Intent
It isn’t surprising how data breaches can be a product of nefarious and illegal activities. Some individuals endeavor to procure sensitive information for their gain. While malicious intent is often associated with a well-designed wall of code, most of the time, it doesn’t take an experienced computer hacker to inflict damage on a corporation.
Credentials can be purchased from the dark web. These pieces of information can then be used to acquire even more sensitive data.
Protecting Your Digital Assets From Security Threats
Technology has changed the way businesses conduct their day-to-day operations. An online presence has made the world smaller, allowing companies to expand their reach.
Nevertheless, the advent of technology has also paved the way for malicious attacks. These breaches can cause severe damage to any operation. Thankfully, below are simple ways you can safeguard your business from these threats:
Update Your Assets and Secure Your Wifi
To gain access to information, hackers often exploit your network’s security lapses and weaknesses. Arguably, one of the easiest data breach prevention methods merely requires keeping all your organization’s applications and devices up-to-date. This includes operating systems and mobile hardware.
Moreover, malicious threats can also exploit your WiFi connection to gain access to your database. To protect your assets, regularly change your passwords, enable a firewall, and safeguard your router’s physical location.
Even in an organizational setting, mistakes can happen. Human error is one of the most common ways data breaches occur. It is best to nip this issue in the bud. This can be done by limiting the access of employees to sensitive information.
To make the process simple, limit authorization access for all employees. Only grant permissions to workers who use specific applications to accomplish tasks. Be aware of who has owner permissions for particular programs and keep these individuals to a minimum.
Inform Your Employees
As discussed earlier, data breaches are often a result of mistakes. Between suspicious links and proper device maintenance, it is your responsibility to equip your personnel with basic digital asset protection methods. A seminar or two on best practices might seem innocuous, but providing necessary information to your employees can save you the hassle of having to deal with a breach in the future.
Opt for Multiple Levels of Protection
Most companies think that anti-malware software is all that is needed to protect their digital assets from risks and threats. However, one application would not provide the security level necessary to prevent data breaches on a corporate scale. More than anti-malware, there are traditional vulnerability assessments and automated website scanners that can give you a clearer picture of your assets’ health.
Similar to your company’s brick-and-mortar investments, your digital assets also need to be protected and maintained. Knowing the threats, you might face the first step in ensuring that your operations have a vital safeguard against possible breaches. You shouldn’t take any chances.