What does the US federal government, 60 million South Africans, 57 million Uber customers and the UK’s National Health Service have in common? All of them have been featured on the news as victims of cyberattacks that resulted in an information breach. You have a right to wonder if anyone can be safe from a hacker. Naturally, you don’t want to fall victim to similar outcomes, so it is time to focus on data security.
The Importance of Data Security
Transactions, knowledge, communication, databases and infrastructure; Information is one of the most important assets of a business or an organization. Regardless of legal or regulatory requirements, maintaining your information security should be high on your list of important measures and policies.
When you are implementing these policies, do the following:
- Keep your sensitive data away from competitors
- Maintain data integrity
- Provide easy access to data when and where it is needed for business operations
If you don’t do this, your important information may become misunderstood or completely useless for your data needs. So it’s natural we ask ourselves the question “Why is data security important?” If anything recent hacks and breaches have shown us, it is that the consequences for organizations can be great when it comes to the safety of their data. People in general expect companies to protect their sensitive information, so a loss of that trust can have dire consequences for habits in the future and, ultimately, for the company’s bottom line. An increase in the amount of data we store and simpler data transfer options (e.g. memory cards, hard drives, cloud hosting) as well as penalties for non-compliance with strict data protection regulations, means that now more than ever, companies need to ensure the security of this valuable data.
How Can a Security Breach Impact my Organization?
1. Reparations & Penalties
By 2021 alone, the total cost of global data breaches peaked at a staggering $6 trillion per year. As more organizations operate globally, this becomes a larger segment that affects all of the businesses. This number includes legal fees, penalties, exam services, customer payments, and other financial damages.
2. Damage to Reputation
The damage caused by the 2017 Equifax data breach (which put data of 143 million Americans into the wrong hands) is estimated at a whopping $87.5 million. Additionally, less than two years after the hack, the company continued to grapple with the negative effects of data errors. Talk about a damaged reputation, right?
3. Loss of Jobs
Being responsible for the welfare of the employees is one thing, but ensuring that their data and online habits are cautious is another. The Uber scandal (and the secrecy that followed!) Resulted in the sacking of two employees; The company’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, and the company’s legal director, Craig Clark were blamed for the incident. In high-profile cases, executives from Target, Yahoo and Equifax have paid for security breaches in their companies. The importance of data security is no longer just a “technical” concern. Data security should now be a board level concern and an integral part of every company’s business strategy.
What You Can Do to Save Your Data
As we all know hackers are constantly learning, developing, and sharing their knowledge. With constantly evolving skills, the risks for jobs and the general public only increases as time goes by. Like it or not, we rely on data to live in the modern world and the billions of data sets that make up our world and connect us are also being attacked. Having all that in mind, it’s no wonder you’re probably thinking on how you can protect your or your businesses’ data.
1. Use an Antivirus Software
Number 1 on our list is utilizing anti-virus protection as a foundational element against multiple t types of malware. Malware is a piece of code designed to infiltrate and damage your PC without you being fully aware. These sneaky bits of code can be present on websites and emails or be cleverly conveyed in hidden downloadable files or software. For example, worms can easily infiltrate your device and wreak havoc on your data to the point where your files are completely unrecognizable or deleted. Naturally, by utilizing a 360 protection for PC and multiple interconnected devices you can rest assured that you’ve completed a foundational element in protecting your data from various malicious attacks. A survey showed users that had at least an antivirus as base protection had no major issues with malicious data breaches on their devices.
2. Update Your Operating Systems
Updating the operating system is a huge burden on users. This is an honest truth. But they’re a necessary evil because these updates contain important security patches that help protect your computer from recently discovered threats. If you don’t install these updates, your computer will be compromised. “It doesn’t matter what type of operating system you’re using, it’s important to keep it up to date. Windows is usually updated at least once a month, usually on what is known as a “patch Tuesday”.
3. Secure Your Wireless Networks
A valuable tip for small business owners as well as individuals or families is always a good idea to password-protect your wireless network. This prevents unauthorized persons from hijacking your nearby wireless network. Even if they’re just trying to get free WiFi access, you don’t want to accidentally share private information with other people who are using your network without permission. If you have WiFi for your workplace, make sure it’s safe, encrypted, and hidden. To hide Wi-Fi, you need to set up your wireless access point or router not to broadcast the network name, also known as Service Settings ID (SSID).
We have covered the importance of data security in today’s data-driven world. Data protection should be taken seriously on all levels, from private to corporate. Make sure that you’re actively updating your antivirus and OS, paying attention to your browsing activities and properly utilizing your antivirus.