Modern technology is now at the heart of the 21st century Average Joe. Everything we do is directly or indirectly influenced by technology. While we can all agree that it has made life easier, not everything about it is sunshine and rainbows. That said, the growing reliance on it acts as a haven for cybercriminals to ride and thrive. Given the increasing sophistication in launching attacks even on prominent corporations, business owners are left with no option but to implement data security measures. Here’s why data security is of utmost importance for your business.
What is Data Security?
Data security, as the name suggests, refers to the protective measures taken by a business to secure or prevent unauthorized access to its website, database, or computers. In a layman language, data security is the act of securing data. Data security, also known as information security or cybersecurity, is an essential element in every organization’s IT department.
A Look at the Rise of Cybercrime
A few years ago, having a good antivirus software was enough to protect consumer data. Anything more than that was seen as something for more prominent organizations and tech-savvy individuals. Fast forward to today’s world; businesses need more than antivirus software to keep their customer’s data safe.
This is because the rise and widespread use of technology has given room to the creation of enormous amounts of data, thus accidentally creating a world of endless possibilities for hackers to thrive. For instance, cloud applications are now incredibly popular among businesses as they make it easier to store and share information.
Unfortunately, since they can be accessed remotely, such applications are subject to costly cyber-attacks by hackers. Now, even bigger companies that were once perceived as immune to cyber-attack have been victims.
As of now, cybercrimes arising from data breaches and data loss cost the global economy approximately $400 million annually. This amount is expected to increase even more as cybercriminals continue to come up with sophisticated software actively.
Why Invest in Data Security?
Here are two key reasons why you should invest in data security:
To Avoid the Costs
A data breach no matter how minor can be a massive blow to your business in many ways. First, it causes your customers to lose their confidence in you as they expected you to be careful with their data. This means lost customers, which automatically translates to a decline in sales and profits.
Also, the same customers can sue you, and you may end up paying millions in compensation. For instance, Equifax ended up paying $700 million to its customers over a data breach that occurred in 2017.
Additionally, according to GDPR, CCPA, and PCI DSS regulations, it’s your legal responsibility to protect consumer data. Thus if you were yet to comply with the regulations when the data breach occurred, you’d end up paying thousands or even millions in fines. Investing in data security today enables you to mitigate the risk of attacks hence avoiding such costs.
To Protect Your Entity’s Reputation
Every day, you collect vast amounts of consumer data. Whether you do so knowingly or unknowingly, it’s your legal responsibility to ensure that information is protected. Therefore, if a data breach occurs, it severely damages your reputation.
This is because customers lose trust in you and are less likely to recommend you to potential clients. Other potential business partners also feel the same way. For instance, Equifax might have offered monetary relief to the affected customers, yet two years later, all that people remember is the breach.
For instance, when you search for it on Google, the only results you’ll get are on the breach. The company still feels the pinch two years later as it not only underwent losses but lost a lot of potential customers and partners.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Company’s Data?
The consequences of data loss or a breach are enough to make your business crumble. The good bit is that you don’t have to wait as there are measures you can implement to protect your data as shown below
Conduct Regular Pen Tests
Penetration testing enables you to assess your company’s ability to withstand hacker attacks. It also allows you to measure your system’s weaknesses or loopholes that an attacker would use. With this information, you’re able to take the necessary steps to ramp up security in your data systems. On top of that, you stay on the safe side with the authorities as pen tests are part of PCI DSS and GDPR Compliance.
Incorporate a Risk Management and Compliance Program
Other than a regular pen test, also incorporate a risk management and compliance program into your operation. Such a program is designed to automatically scan your system and alert you of your defense’s system strengths and weaknesses. It makes risk mitigation a walk in the park and is easy to implement.
At times, various employee practices might be the culprits behind your system’s vulnerabilities. For instance, an employee might innocently turn off the computer without logging off the system. To them, it might seem harmless, but in reality, it creates a chance for hackers to infiltrate the system. Offering training to them and making them understand the depth of cybercrimes will help ensure they avoid such habits. They’ll also learn strategies used by hackers. For instance, an employee might not know the impact of a phishing email. This means if it’s sent to them, they’ll innocently open it. Once they’re trained, they’ll not only know the impact but will be careful not to open such emails in the future.