In 2020 alone, one out of four organizations in Canada experienced a customer and/or employee data breach. More worryingly, another 38% were not even aware their data security was compromised. This data comes from a 2020 cybersecurity report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). And as per IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report, Canada holds the non-envious position of having the third-highest average cost for data breaches,  US$4.5 million, which is exceeded only by the US and the Middle East.

These reports paint a very real picture of the cybersecurity risks faced by organizations, both large and small and, more importantly, draw attention to the necessity of maintaining a robust data security apparatus. In this regard, Packetlabs has prepared a list of measures your business can take to minimize IT security risks and keep your business data secure.

1. Safeguard your business data from insider threats through access control

While you may carry out thorough background checks on your employees before hiring them, data breaches are most often triggered by internal actors. While there is no fool-proof way to overcome this security risk, the most effective way to reduce it is to have level-based access control systems.

These may be in the form of passwords, multi-factor authentications and digital security tokens. Besides restricting unauthorized access to your business data, access control also provides a way to authenticate and identify users while limiting their actions to authorized security levels only.

2. Educate your employees about social engineering attacks such as phishing

Social engineering, in cybersecurity, is the manipulation of people to make them unwittingly reveal confidential information such as passwords.

Phishing is perhaps the most common social engineering attack that people fall prey to, and the implications can be severe. Phishing attacks usually come in the form of fraudulent emails that appear to be from authentic persons or organizations to trick the recipient into clicking a link. This results in the hacker either directly or indirectly gaining access to secure systems within your organization.

Besides having anti-virus and malware software and spam filters, the only way to protect your business from phishing attacks is to educate your employees to recognize sophisticated phishing attacks. This also involves being vigilant and making employees aware of the various forms of social engineering attacks.

Providing refresher sessions on IT security best practices and security policies periodically is essential. It is also essential to ensure that the best practices are followed.

Safeguarding your business data with dual-factor authentication can also provide an additional layer of security from compromises arising from phishing-style cyber-attacks. 

3. Carry out a third-party security audit of your IT infrastructure, such as pen testing

As a business with solid awareness about data and IT security, you probably already have end-point full encryption in place. In addition, you may follow data backup practices judiciously. It would be safe to assume that you have strong user authentication processes in place as well.

Despite these measures, there is still a likelihood of a loophole or vulnerability in your IT systems or applications, which a hacker can exploit to gain access to your systems.

The solution to this problem is to get an in-depth third-party security audit conducted on your systems and applications. Ethical hackers, for instance, carry out penetration testing, which involves evaluating the security of your IT systems through a simulated cyber-attack.

Also called a pentest, such an evaluation can lay bare any vulnerabilities in your IT systems, applications or network components. This gives you the chance to get these weaknesses fixed before bad actors can exploit them and keep your business data secure.

4. Prepare for the worst

Just like the proverb, “hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” it is always advisable to assume the worst could happen at any point in time and have contingencies in place to minimize losses.

Some basics measures include:

  1. Disconnecting affected systems from the larger network
  2. Informing all the necessary parties about any data breaches and security compromises. For instance, informing your customers early about a security breach gives them the time to change their passwords. A measure that could potentially save them from damage.
  3. Review to identify the source of the problem and fix it early. 

Conclusion: Keep your data secure by creating a plan

While risks to data security will always be present, the best thing you can do to keep your business data secure is implementing various data security measures and best practices for your company to follow. The steps above are proven tactics that will help reduce the chances of your business falling prey to the next data breach.

To learn more about how Packetlabs can help strengthen your organization’s IT systems, check out our penetration testing services or please write to us at info@packetlabs.net. You can also receive free quotes on our pen testing services, and we’ll get in touch with you within 48 hours.