The importance of data security has been further exacerbated by the global pandemic and how every activity is being carried out online. Ensuring customer data is protected and secure is a critical consequence of rapid digitalization. According to the 'Cost of A Data Breach 2020 Report' by IBM, $3.86 million was the global average total cost of a data breach in 2020. The repercussions of a data breach can ripple throughout the company and have a devastating and long-term financial impact on businesses. These include losing public trust, damaging brand reputation, and battling through legal or regulatory implications.
Businesses that offer online solutions must also take the responsibility to put stringent guidelines and internal processes in place, making it very difficult for hackers to access any data without authorization.
Provide VPN Access
Offices and businesses can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure data as it moves between staff working remotely from their homes and their colleagues working at designated offices. VPN helps users surf the Internet securely and privately by encrypting the transmitted data and masking user identity and location. Data encryption ensures that hackers will still be unable to access the data in the unfortunate event of a data breach. Businesses with a remote workforce, support a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, or have employees who work remotely from homes or client locations will significantly benefit from using a VPN to protect their data.
Using a VPN provides enhanced data security, better online privacy, and the ability to bypass geo-blocking and access multiple server locations. Businesses should choose between the various VPN service providers available that are suited to their business needs. Good VPNs have many servers worldwide, making it easier for companies to establish a connection at any given time.
Ensure Secure Wifi Connections
Businesses should also ensure that WiFi firmware and software are routinely updated and that firewall protection is enabled on their networks. They should also look for rogue access points, an unofficial way for someone to connect to the network. A Clark School research from the University of Maryland found that cybersecurity attacks in the U.S. happen every 39 seconds on average and everything from payroll to banking information, to usernames and passwords, is exposed like a buffet spread.
Setting up a Service Set Identifier (SSID) allows businesses to separate the traffic, making two separate access points to your network: a business-grade secure access point for your team and a public one for customers or clients.
This provides an extra layer of protection by isolating your business’s computers from guests, preventing a potential data breach.
Streamline Company Data
A common misconception is that the more data collected, the better. This couldn't be further from the truth. Data gluttony not only increases the amount of effort and manpower required to secure and maintain such data, but it also increases the possibility of it being breached, leaked, or stolen. The Data Never Sleeps Report by DOMO states that in 2018, "more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every day". Having sensitive data about clients and customers is a huge responsibility. An organization's breach could provide hackers with enough information to get into a crucial account or make a fraudulent insurance claim.
According to IBM, companies take around '197 days to identify and 69 days to contain' a breach. By then, it may be too late to rectify the consequences of the breach after it has occurred. Therefore, it is crucial and prudent for businesses to streamline the data collected to avoid a data breach.
The ongoing trend of data breaches and privacy risks are of increasing concerns worldwide. Transactions, communications, databases, proprietary infrastructure, and an organization's information are arguably their most valuable asset and are in a business's best interests to keep its data safe.
Doing so keeps sensitive data out of competitors' hands, retains data integrity, and enables easy access to data wherever and whenever required for business operations. Failing to do this, vital information could get into the wrong hands or be rendered otherwise useless, making a robust security system of utmost importance to any organization.
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