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The average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million. Globally, each stolen or lost record containing confidential and sensitive information is $141.

As you can see, a data leak can be a massive hit to your business- and could even be enough to put you under. Luckily, following some of our data leak prevention tips will help you keep your data safe.

Not only is a data leak a massive hit to your bottom line, but it can also ruin your company’s reputation. Who could forget Yahoo’s leak, when 3 billion user accounts were compromised, knocking $350 million off the company’s sale price? Yahoo was once valued at $100 billion and was sold for just $4.48 billion.

And then there’s eBay, which was a victim of a massive attack in 2014. eBay CEO John Donahue admitted that the company saw a decline in user activity- not surprising considering 145 million users were impacted.

You simply can’t afford to have your data leak. Here’s how you can ensure your data stays safe:

1. Identify Your Critical Data

The first step is recognizing which data is the most critical. Some of your data is high-priority and needs of the most protection, and that data should be treated appropriately.

Your sensitive data is likely distributed widely through your network. It’s usually on individual PCs, in email messages, and in web portals. This information comes in many forms and can include social security and credit card numbers. Not to mention, trade secrets can be found in a variety of files and documents, such as product development specifications and customer agreements and contracts.

It’s impractical and inefficient to have one set of controls for all types of data. Instead, you need to categorize your data so you can choose the most appropriate controls for each data class.

2. Limit Your User Privileges

It’s likely that you’re giving most employees more access than they need. It’s crucial that you monitor user access to mission-critical data. You also need to constantly be on the lookout for unauthorized access to sensitive or high-risk data.

You’ll need to have access policies are tailored for each type of user. They should only have network privileges that allow them to access data that is necessary in order for them to do their jobs.

You also need to have controls in place that would issue alerts if someone who usually accesses 5 documents a day suddenly begins accessing 10 or 15.

3. Educate Employees

Strong internal security begins with excellent personnel. That’s why your hiring process is so important. Employees who understand the current landscape and are experienced with risk can be invaluable to your organization.

When you’re recruiting team members, management needs to be certain that they understand breach prevention and management in the unfortunate event that a breach occurs.

You also need to provide employees with training and continuous guidance around the safe use and storage of your data. That means ensuring they have access to data leak prevention tips and company policy around data loss prevention.

Finally, you’ll also need to have a strong exit strategy. That means being prepared when employees leave your business. All passwords should be changed, and your employee’s personal devices and computers should no longer contain any sensitive information.

4. Monitor Moving Parts

These days, many companies have BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in place. And more and more employees are working remotely from home or on the road. While this is great news for productivity, it can be extremely risky when it comes to data security.

One of the best data leak prevention tips? Consider any device that has access to your network as a potential threat. That doesn’t mean that you need to be paranoid. But you should consider which devices can access sensitive data, and what would happen if those devices fell into the wrong hands or were targeted by ransomware.

You may want to give your employees travel laptops that can be used while they’re on the road. These can be capable of completing all necessary business functions, but won’t have access to sensitive, propriety, or secure information.

It’s also a good idea to consider other mobile devices. You’ll need preventative measures that will ensure unauthorized people can’t get access to your data if that mobile device is lost or stolen.

You need to have strong BYOD policies. Ensure that your employees understand any risks of using their own devices. Consider or emphasize:

  • Jailbreak prevention
  • Device encryption and password requirements
  • Patch and update requirements
  • Immediate notification and emergency response for misplaced or lost devices
  • Remote data wiping
  • Secure app workflows
  • Sandboxing
  • Tracking software
  • Anti-malware software

5. Prepare for the Worst Case Scenario

No one wants to consider what would happen if they were to experience a data leak or breach. But it’s a good idea to prepare for the worst.

You need to establish a disaster management plan, so your team can be prepared in case the worst did happen. It’s important to understand that while the above data leak prevention tips can help you prevent data leaks, your risk will never be fully mitigated.

Once you’re prepared, your team will have a full understanding of how they can prevent the leak from growing or facing unnecessary backlash from customers.

Your breach protocol should be put to the test, so plan a mock disaster. See how well your team would be prepared in the event of a disaster, and pinpoint any problems well before you need to deal with them.

What do you Think of These Data Leak Prevention Tips?

Unfortunately, hackers, cybercriminals, internal theft, and employee error are all a reality of business. By identifying your most critical data, educating your employees, and having strong policies in place, you can reduce your risk of a costly and embarrassing data leak.

The above tips will help you prevent data leaks, but it’s also important to invest in security so your business won’t be a target. We can help you keep your data safe. Get in touch today, and let’s talk.

 

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