3 Things Every Organization Should Do to Prevent Data Breaches

News reports of data breaches feel common these days. Banks, corporations, and even the federal government have been victims of hackers due to firewall vulnerabilities or simply not knowing how much and where their sensitive data is stored. While many businesses have a plan in place to deal with security failures, it’s wise to think proactively and begin to invest in Data Security, Risk Management, and Compliance before something happens. Here are three tips for getting started:

1. Take advantage of available frameworks

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Models exist that detail how to manage your security risks, so why not take advantage of cybersecurity experts’ knowledge and guidance? Two such examples that we commonly work with clients on are NIST Cybersecurity Framework, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and COBIT 5, published by ISACA. Frameworks are built upon industry best practices. They are proven thousands of times over across various organizations, so you can feel good about the advice they provide. Security is not one-size-fits-all, of course, but you can use frameworks to guide you as you develop your own security protocols.

2. Set up a schedule to review standards and procedures

Documentation on standards and procedures is important to help you identify possible security holes. It’s equally critical to update your documentation on a regular basis. Set a schedule and keep to it—whether that’s every six months or once a year. In addition, be sure to update procedure manuals whenever you adopt a new technology.

3. Train all employees on security

Everyone needs to understand security risks—not just your IT team. In fact, the “human factor” has been cited as essential to keeping your company’s data safe. In other words, your company is only as secure as your employees make it. Security training should be part of your onboarding process, with review training taking place once or twice a year. Employees need to understand the importance of securing data through strong passwords and mindful computer use. For instance, not storing critical data on portable hard drives that might get stolen and not accessing sensitive data on an open Wi-Fi system. Companies must help their employees realize that its security is only as strong as the people who manage it -which is everyone, no matter rank or position.

At Infinitive, we work with companies of all sizes to analyze risks and assess their strengths. We provide recommendations on how to fix security gaps and help clients deal with remediation of audit findings. We can help you author standards and procedures, examine your risks, and train employees. We want to help companies prevent security events, which is why we stress the importance of being proactive. Most of all, we want to help you understand the risks your company faces so you can better address them before an adverse event.