No matter the size of your business, you handle confidential or personal information in one form or another. Whether it’s your client’s address or your employee’s bank routing number, a data breach could expose their private information. When put in the wrong hands, this could mean disaster for your reputation and operations.
The problem is, many businesses have a “it won’t happen to me” mindset, oftentimes because they don’t truly understand how hackers operate. Let’s look at some of these dangerous data breach misconceptions to ensure your company has the knowledge it needs to stay safe:
Misconception 1: “I have traditional security software, like an antivirus software and firewall, so I am safe.”
Just because you have antivirus software or a firewall in place, it doesn’t mean you are fully protected. Hackers are crafty, using a number of ways to get past these standard blockades.
For example, hackers can take advantage of outdated software. We all get those update alerts, but amidst everything else, these updates can be really easy to push off. New vulnerabilities are constantly found, and without a proper patch, your company is left exposed. Without automated, mandatory updates, all it takes is one neglectful employee!
Cyber criminals can also attack personal or corporate devices when your employees are connecting to outside networks. Although a lot of public Wifi networks are safe, cyber criminals create fake clones to steal passwords and gain access to both your employees personal and company accounts.
Automation and education are key contributors to protecting your network. Automating updates will keep your network up to date and hackers out. Teach your employees to never access sensitive data on a foreign network, firewall or not, or ask us about other ways to educate employees on proper safety protocol.
Misconception 2: “My application is password protected, so I don’t need to worry.”
Nowadays, many hackers have access to advanced password-guessing programs, making short passwords without a variety of numbers, symbols or added complexity very easy to crack.
Let’s put it into perspective. There are roughly 100 combinations for a five-character password, but a program can figure this out in seconds. Test your password strength here to see how simply adding some more complex characters can rapidly increase its difficulty of being cracked.
An eight character password that uses upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers, however, could take years of calculations. Try advising your employees to capitalize a letter of your password, or to start off with a number, inject a number or symbol in the middle of a word and change passwords across different systems.
Password managers can be great tools to create a unique, complex password for every account someone may have. Make sure your password manager has two-step authentication to keep your data secure.
Misconception 3: “Nobody cares about paper trails anymore. We just need digital protection.”
While a lot of data breach attacks are digital in nature, companies who still print records need not underestimate this form of threat. In certain medical industries, like hospitals for example, paper is still the most common type of breach.
In fact, a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care found that 65 percent of hospital data breaches were the result of exposure of paper and film-based records. These things happen more often than you realize. An employee could leave a notebook at a cafe or walk away from a counter, housing stacks of client files. Hackers can even reroute your printer job to their own devices.
Companies who handle sensitive personal information of clients, such as law firms, need to safeguard their printables. Here’s some tips for protecting your company from breaches.
Misconception 4: “Data breaches are mainly caused by third-party mistakes or errors in a system.”
While data breaches do indeed occur because of outside mistakes, the greatest cause is usually a negligent employee, according to this 2017 report from Keeper. You can set up all the best defenses to keep outside threats out, but if an enemy is let in by an employee, it’s harder to stop them.
An employee could infect your entire network by simply opening an attachment in a phishing email or sharing personal information with someone posing as a leadership figure within the company. Be sure to create a powerful cybersecurity strategy that utilizes educational programs, preparing your employees for scams.
Misconception 5: “My company is too small for a data breach.”
Some companies think they’re “too small” for cyber attackers to care, that these criminals only target big businesses. Unfortunately, that’s not always true.
Attackers look for easy targets— and sometimes this reality doesn’t sit in until your network is down and you’re being threatened with a hefty ransomware fee that could easily put you out of business. In fact, Inc. reported that 60 percent of small businesses fold within six months of a cyber attack.
Even if resolved, these breaches could cost small companies costly hours of redo time and harsh penalties from the IRS. Remember, no company is too small to be a victim of breach.
Do You Have the IT Protection You Need?
After learning about some of these common misconceptions about data breaches, do you need to reassess your cybersecurity?
Here’s a quick resource for checking how well your company is protected from data breaches and more. If you notice some gaps in your security, reach out to our experts. We’re here to help you craft a custom cybersecurity strategy for your business.
Give us a call at 888.464.8770 or contact us today.