Data Security Mistakes Most Businesses Don’t Realize They’re Making

Larry Alton

When it comes to data security, most businesses are doing all right. Unfortunately, all right isn’t good enough. It leaves the door open for costly attacks that put your business at risk of being permanently compromised.

Stop making these costly mistakes

According to Breach Level Index, there have been more than 13.44 billion data records lost or stolen since 2013. Every single day, 6.3 million more records are stolen. For those counting at home, that’s 73 compromised records every second.

While certain industries do receive more attention than others – namely healthcare and finance – the size of the corporation is inconsequential. More than 43% of cyber attacks are targeted towards small businesses.

In other words, you don’t have any choice but to perk up and be proactive. For starters, this means understanding where you’re coming up short and addressing the low-hanging fruit that puts your business at risk.

To help you get on track, following are some of the most common data-security mistakes and habits businesses fall for.

1. Improper cloud strategies

Many business leaders have been led to believe that simply moving to the cloud guarantees data protection. And while it’s certainly the safest place for you to store your company’s confidential data, it’s not an impenetrable fortress. There are always risks, and you must be cognizant of how your data is being protected – specifically if you’re on a public cloud used by other companies.

As Arbour Group explains, “The cloud provider should describe the type of security and partitioning processes that are available to their customers. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) can be partitioned by the vendor to meet a company’s specific security needs. Software as a Service (SaaS) can be customized to meet a company’s security needs if specific requirements for privacy are discussed with the vendor.”

You should also have a plan for backing up your most important data locally. This gives you a backup plan should something happen to your data in the cloud.

Then there’s the issue of encryption. While it won’t prevent an attack, it does protect your information from being accessed by the wrong people.

“To enjoy better privacy, always look for cloud storage services that offer local encryption for your data,” Hacker Noon advises. “This provides double security, as the files will have to be decrypted to gain access. This method protects your data even from service providers and administrators. Taking a few preventive measures like this around data encryption can make your most sensitive information tightly secure.”

2. BYOD vulnerabilities

When you look at the data threats businesses face, it’s pretty clear that improper BYOD strategies present one of the biggest risks. In fact, a study of 10 million mobile device subscribers shows that 60% of devices in enterprise BYOD environments are vulnerable to known cyber threats.

If you want to protect your organization’s data, you have to be proactive with developing safe BYOD policies that address high-risk factors and promote safety and security. In particular, you need a method for tracking and wiping devices if they become lost or stolen.

3. Lack of real-time monitoring

“Smaller businesses tend to use older systems with unpatched weaknesses. Since they still have extremely valuable data, cybercriminals have found easy targets,” Consolidate Technologies explains. “Many small companies decide to trust the technology instead of investing in round-the-clock monitoring systems, and they’ve paid the price.”

If you aren’t already using a real-time monitoring system to identify and neutralize threats as they emerge, you need to go back to the drawing table and come up with a plan.

4. Untrained staff members

People can be your greatest asset or risk. In terms of data security, you need to make sure all of your employees – not just the higher-ups – are trained and prepared for how to handle confidential data and the systems that use this information. It’s the only way to close the loopholes that exist in your company’s defense.

Prioritize data security in your business

You don’t have any choice but to confront data security in a very real and tangible way. Either you do it today, or you’ll feel the negative ramifications of a breach or attack in the future. I hope this article has provided you with some valuable ideas about how you can focus your energy and strategize for maximum protection.

For more recommendations, check out Ten Ways Small And Midsize Companies Can Strengthen Information Security.

About Larry Alton

Larry is a freelance marketing & technology consultant with a background in IT. Follow him on Twitter @LarryAlton3.