Doing business in the digital world means that you and your company are at risk of losing your most valuable resource – data.
Cybercriminals know very well that small and medium-sized businesses are lucrative targets since they rarely invest in solid data protection.
It’s time we talked about the main causes of data breaches, how they happen, and what you can do about them!
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1. Weak Password Etiquette
The easiest way to get to someone’s data is by stealing their credentials. People tend to undermine the importance of good password hygiene, which ultimately leads to trouble.
There are a few things you can do to prevent a data breach through cracked credentials:
- Never reuse passwords – every account should have a unique one.
- Create complex passwords – avoid actual words, and use symbols, numbers, and special characters.
- Don’t share your passwords with anyone – most importantly, don’t send them through email or other messaging channels.
2. Targeted Data Stealing (Spear Phishing)
You’ve probably heard of phishing, but have you heard of its more serious form – spear phishing? Spear phishing targets specific company employees, posing as colleagues. The scammers usually ask for a password because “they forgot it again”.
In reality, this type of targeted attack requires a lot of research, and once the hacker gets in, there’s little you can do. However, a strong policy that regulates communication can do wonders. There’s no need to send passwords over regular communication channels. Ever.
3. Human Error
Human-caused data breaches are not as rare as you might hope. No matter how much we learn about cyber threat prevention, a slip-up can always happen.
Your non-cyber-aware colleagues are the best collaborators of hackers and scammers. And you shouldn’t blame them for that. Instead, turn the conversation to spreading awareness.
Create a climate that allows everyone to be familiar with the most common cybersecurity threats.
4. Software vulnerabilities
Pretty much all software has vulnerabilities. Even the biggest players like Apple, Microsoft, and Google constantly check their software for vulnerabilities and release security patches through software updates.
Vulnerabilities are unavoidable, but they’re not a big problem as long as they’re fixed in time. But if you fail to download a software update and continue to use outdated and vulnerable software, hackers may be able to access your system and your data. So don’t skip those updates!
5. Suspicious Software
Smaller companies usually don’t have the budget to invest in the whole set of digital tools that the industry requires. Sometimes, a free 3rd party app can be a life-saver, especially when the budget is tight.
The sea of free digital tools is full of all sorts of malware that can steal or even delete your data. Your best bet is to go the extra mile and do quality research if you decide to give free digital tools a try.
In the digital era, your data is your biggest asset. Securing it behind firm credentials and a firm cybersecurity protocol is paramount!
You don’t have to break the bank to keep your data protected. Just have some common sense, good password hygiene, a bit of awareness, and extra caution around suspicious software. If you start here, your data should be safe and sound!