Digital Security // By Todd Sexton8 Tips to prevent data breaches

Published 22 January 2015

Securing electronic messages should be one of the top IT priorities for organizations in 2015. The process should not be overly complex or expensive, but it does require proper planning and regular revisions. While there is no such thing as a 100 percent breach-proof security system, the majority of attacks can easily be prevented by following the simple steps outlined in this article.

Data breach incidents occur when unauthorized parties gain access to sensitive or confidential records. Sensitive Corporate records can be breached virtually anywhere - on internal servers, in the cloud, or simply intercepted while in transit to a third party.

When thinking about data breaches, most people imagine professional hackers breaking into a highly secured data system. It is a popular image introduced by Hollywood and often favored by the press. The reality, however, is much more banal. Data breaches often happen through a simple e-mail transmission, human error, inferior passwords, or poorly thought out security measures. Often we hear about large and highly publicized data breaches, but statistically speaking, small companies are affected at a far greater rate.

According to Forbes, in 2013 alone, about 40 percent of small businesses were victims of data breaches. Small businesses with limited resources pay dearly for losing sensitive data — it is estimated 60 percent of small organizations hit by cyber security attacks will close within six months.

Over the past five years, according to Beazley, we have seen a 30 percent increase in data breaches, especially due to malware and hacker attacks. This trend is expected to increase even more over the next several years. Once viewed as merely an inconvenience, data breaches often cripple many small businesses, as data is the most important asset of companies. Failure to protect consumer and corporate data will result in low consumer confidence, reduction in business, regulatory fines and financial losses. Current government regulations are targeted at organizations of all sizes, requiring companies to implement policies and procedures in order to safeguard sensitive consumer information.

If you are one of the many organizations confused about how successfully to protect against data security vulnerabilities, then you are not alone. With a little effort and strategic planning, however, electronic data protection can be successfully implemented by organizations of all sizes.