Cybersecurity spending is increasingly a major cost of doing business, and rightfully so. The cost of a major data breach has increased in recent years, with an average price tag for a breach involving 1 million records at nearly 40 million dollars. Apart from the cost per breach, the overall number of breaches has also increased in recent years, with over 6 million recorded breaches every day. These statistics of course sound startling, but good risk reduction is not as daunting a task as many think.
With major data breaches becoming more and more common and expensive, businesses are realizing the necessity of serious investments in their cybersecurity defences. Many businesses, however, are still wondering where and how to invest their resources in order to best protect themselves. The answer to this question lies in an understanding of the nature of the threat and potential vulnerabilities.
Where are threats coming from?
In order to protect your business from cybersecurity threats it’s important to understand where the majority of the threats come from. While many associate data breaches with malicious attacks that penetrate a business’s defences, the truth appears to be more complicated.
According to information obtained from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, 88% of all recent data breaches were the result of human error. This seems to be the case in other countries as well, meaning the most prominent reasons for data breaches are not external hacking, but rather human mistakes. This also means that the best protection against such threats lies in your employees, and how they go about their day to day work.
Training and Practice
The good news about human error being the main weakness in your cybersecurity defences is that the solutions don’t lie only in expensive and complicated technical protections. The best way to protect your company against data breaches is to prepare your employees through clear training and procedures, and protecting their daily communication channels.
Providing privacy and security training to employees that introduces procedures to reduce the overall amount of data transferred, clarifies the ways in which they can be transferred, and shares other best practices for handling data on your team, is the first measure that you should consider taking.
Your most valuable resource, and the one with the highest potential for error according to data experts, are your employees. So begin by creating a training program keeping in mind the following guidelines:
- l Make sure your employees are up to speed on the latest threats. Use specific examples to build this awareness.
- l Tailor your training program to the specific audience. I.e.- externally facing employees in customer service should have some different content than employees communicating mainly internally.
- l Focus more on practice than theory. Having your employees work through situations and scenarios is the best way to train them for the real thing.
- l Make sure you solicit feedback from your employees so that you’re certain you’re meeting their needs.
A good employee training program goes hand in hand with clear procedures for data processing. One without the other will not give your business the data protection that you’ll need in order to avoid costly data breaches.
Internal communication procedures
While human error continues to be the number one leading factor for data breaches, and your efforts should begin with training in order to avoid mistakes, you should also pay attention to the communication systems you are using.
With the right internal communication structure you can reduce the likelihood of your employees making mistakes by installing automatic protections. Once you’ve created an employee training program, and gotten your team up to speed on how to keep data secure, it’s important to look for solutions to secure your internal communication.
Securing your internal team communication seems like a daunting task, but in reality basic protections can be quite simple. By far the easiest, and most important, place to begin is with your team’s internal communication systems. Most of the data your business processes is almost certainly done through internal channels. Luckily there are programs that can offer you secure private networks that secure all of your team’s internal communication.
One such example is Brosix IM. Brosix is one of the IM companies specializing in providing businesses with secure private networks for their internal communication. Through data encryption and limiting access to these networks to administrator-approved users, Brosix can reduce the likelihood of data being accidentally sent to the wrong person or leaked in some other way. These automatic protections can go hand in hand with your well-trained employees to provide more comprehensive protection.
The increasing costs and frequency of data breaches should provoke every business to take a hard look at their cybersecurity infrastructure. Unfortunately, many businesses rely on fancy (aka expensive) hardware and software to protect against external intruders, while ignoring the most important elements of cybersecurity.
The likelihood of someone externally accessing your business’s data is much lower than that of an employee accidentally granting them access. Therefore the first steps you should take in your cybersecurity plan should be to train your employees, and give them the secure communication channels they need to communicate internally. This solid foundation will go a long way to reducing the potential for a costly data leak in your business.