Nowadays, both companies and clients are worried about data security. Around 56% of clients are actively curious about what companies are doing to protect their data. And it’s not surprising. The latest data breaches are all over the news, regulators are stepping up and introducing new laws, and people are becoming more aware of potential threats and ways to avoid them.
Yet, it seems that many still underestimate just how dangerous poor data security is. According to IBM's report, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 in the world was $4.3 million, while in the US it reached $9.4 million, with the number of breaches growing year on year.
What kind of data is stolen most often?
We hear about stolen data all the time, but what is it exactly that cybercriminals are most interested in?
Primarily, they target:
- Personal data (names, ages, addresses)
- Other personally identifiable information (PII)
- Login credentials
- Transactions information
- Banking card PINs, names, and numbers
- Confidential emails and business plans
Overall, any data can potentially be targeted depending on the criminal’s goals.
The compromised data is also not necessarily used for further crimes right away. Instead, criminals can wait for the time when the person they hacked receives incoming payments that can be stolen. Sometimes they also wait for additional data that would enable them to commit a crime. Alternatively, someone who gained access to large amounts of client data may blackmail the company that the data was stolen from and request a ransom.
Healthcare traditionally remains the most vulnerable and targeted industry. The public sector is following it closely with 18% of total attacks. Both collect expansive personal data and often lack the funds to implement advanced and efficient data protection measures.
Risks associated with data loss or leaks
Data loss or leak is a huge risk, and it affects everyone. Not only companies but contractors and individuals suffer from breaches and other disasters. Let’s look at the main risks for each of the three groups.
- Reputational loss
- Financial loss
- Fines from regulators
- Lack of trust
- Potential bankruptcy
- Fines and cancelled contracts
- Fraud with personal data
- Financial risks
- Loss of credibility
Instruments and tips to help strengthen data protection
The first and most important instrument against data breaches is employee education. Everyone in the company needs to be trained to spot potential threats and report them asap. It only takes cybercriminals to find one weak link and have someone make one mistake – and they got you. You can implement preventative measures but keeping your staff well-informed is ultimately the main thing.
Next come the basics, such as two-factor authentication, firewalls, encryption, antivirus, and antimalware software. If your business has a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, those must be scanned and equipped with protective software as well.
Here are recommendations that would help you keep your and your partners/clients data safe:
- Create unique, strong passwords.
- Act right away if there is a chance of a data breach - change passwords or replace data (for example, you can block your banking card and request a new one).
- Stay alert.
Phishing messages and emails keep up with the times and become harder to identify.
- Avoid using public wifi networks.
They are a breeding ground for data breaches.
- Use VPN and other tools to encrypt your data.
- Check what security measures are available and apply them all.
For example, two-factor authentication is often voluntary with services like emails. Make sure you use them to stay protected.
- Keep only the sensitive data that is necessary for running a business.
Get rid of or transform the rest to be unidentifiable.
Pro tip: Test all instruments, plans, and strategies you come up with. Just because something works well theoretically doesn’t mean it will be flawless in real life.
Data protection and security with an outsourcing company
As an experienced software developer, Emphasoft understands the importance of keeping your data secure. Over the years, we’ve worked with many clients from the medical and financial fields, the two industries being notorious for their strict data security policies. With our projects, we care not only about the quality and meeting the deadline but also keeping everything as secure as it can be. Reach out to us today to learn more about our data protection strategy and how we can implement your vision into reality.