5 Critical Measures to Avoid a Data Hack

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Data breaches cost U.S. companies billions of dollars each year. Large breaches can also seriously damage the reputation of a company. Businesses store large amounts of data, and customers want to know that companies keep their data safe. Most hacking attacks are not complex and involve common pitfalls in standardized security measures. Introducing measures to increase data security to thwart attacks can be simple. Implementing these critical measures can help companies avoid a data hack.

Two-Step Authentication

Using two-step authentication for logins can make it more difficult for hackers to get to sensitive data. While hackers can easily crack passwords, a two-step system is much more difficult. In this system, employees first enter their passwords. Then they pass an additional step in the log-in process. This can be answering a security question, such as a mother’s maiden name. It can also include entering a unique code the security system sends to the account owner’s email or phone. Hacking the two-step authentication system would require access to information hackers rarely have, such as the account owner’s cell phone or personal information.

Cloud Security

Although it is still possible for hackers to attack cloud-based storage, it is much more difficult than an office server. Using a cloud-based system for storage, data remain off-site. If a hacker attempts to access data through common routes, such as through email or a stolen laptop, they cannot access it. The sole purpose and operation of cloud computing is the safety of data. Companies that operate cloud storage use top of the line methods to keep data safe. These services are also often low in cost. It is still possible for hackers to breach data in the cloud. Comparing cloud companies to find one that has a strong reputation and offers additional security measures for data, such as key-based access, is crucial.

Data Governance

Companies with strong data governance policies are less susceptible to attack from hackers. These companies understand the value of their data and its exact location. Data management plans include information on the procedures for data organization, storage, sharing, and access. Companies should develop standardized procedures and communicate them to company-wide. Anyone who comes into contact with company data needs to know the rules. This can help mitigate a hacking attack by helping the company understand and address flaws in data governance and pinpoint weak spots to prevent hacks.

Employee Training

Most data hacks occur due to employee mistakes. They click on the wrong website or open an attachment in an email. Then a hacker has full access to company data. Providing employee data security training can help solve this problem. Human resources can explain to employees what emails that might contain phishing attacks look like. They can learn to spot suspicious emails and websites to avoid opening them. This should be part of the onboarding process, and IT or human resources should provide periodic reminders and refreshers. Some companies develop protocols to warn other employees when one person receives a suspicious email. Companies can use interactive programs that require employees to periodically take a quiz to help measure the retention of information and reinforce data security protocols.

Strong Passwords

The first defense against infiltration into a data system is a strong password. Weak passwords are at the root of many data breaches. Passwords should contain at least eight characters. They also need a mix of uppercase and lowercase alphabetical letters, numbers, and special characters. Randomized passwords are strongest as opposed to passwords that include special dates or sentimental attachments that someone could guess. Disgruntled employees are a major concern for data breaches. Having the same standard employee password configuration could make it easier for other employees to access another person’s account.

The idea of highly sophisticated hackers employing elaborate methods to steal data is largely a myth. Most data hacks occur because of human error and poor data management planning. Companies can prevent these attacks. These tips can help companies implement procedures that fortify their data security systems and prevent data breaches.

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