How an Enterprise Can Prepare for a Data Breach

With data breaches on the rise, preparing for a data breach is more important than ever. Learn why data breaches happen and what you can do to prevent them.  

The Importance of Preparing for a Data Breach

With data breaches on the rise, preparing for a data breach is more important than ever. Learn why data breaches happen and what you can do to prevent them.  

More than half of enterprises aren’t equipped to respond to a data breach, which makes preparing for one even more important. While an average of 88,750 certificates and keys being used by organizations to authenticate systems and secure data, three-quarters believe that their organizations don’t know how many certificates and keys they have and where to find them or when they expire. As more and more data breaches happen, and organizations continue to experience outages due to mismanaged digital certificates, the time is now to fix these issues.

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Why Data Breaches Happen

Data breaches can happen for any number of reasons. They can be caused by a contractor or employee that has access to sensitive information or due to negligence of a third party working on equipment. Data breaches can also happen with the theft of data.

Weak passwords: This is a no-brainer, and weak passwords are the easiest way a hacker gets access to a protected network.

Human Error: Weak passwords can be considered a human error, and other human errors can include sharing account details, sending data via fax or email to the wrong recipient, or using unencrypted hardware devices.

Old System Vulnerabilities: Out-of-date software can allow attacks to infect your network with malware.

Malware: Hackers are using phishing tactics to trick users into downloading malware. It happens when a user has connected to a public wireless network and is successful when it captures their credentials. Hackers will modify malware when targeting different organizations, making it undetectable by many antivirus programs.

Preparing for the Breach

To prepare for a breach, it helps to know why data breaches happen so you can guard against those things.

  • Electronically and psychically secure your servers and conduct ongoing risk assessments.
  • Require background checks on contractors that are given access to your computer systems.
  • Invest in endpoint detection, security information, and network detection and response.
  • Require any vendors you work with to maintain cybersecurity and make sure their efforts are also in compliance.
  • Have an incident response plan in place, so when a problem does happen, you are equipped to handle it.
  • Train employees about cybersecurity. Having routine privacy and security training is necessary.
  • Every piece of sensitive data should be protected, whether or not it’s used.
  • Limit access to specific systems that people don’t need access to. Be sure that relevant professionals handle sensitive data.
  • Adding an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication will provide greater protection than just using password authentication.
  • Restrict downloadable media, as this can prevent transferring sensitive data to other external devices.

Recovering from the Breach

Even if you have prepared for a data breach, you may still find you have experienced one, and now it’s time to prepare. The effects of a data breach can be hard on an enterprise. However, recovering is possible, and preparing for the next one is more manageable.

Stop the Breach: Once you have noticed the breach, it’s vital to contain the breach since time is important. How you will contain the breach will depend on the nature of the attack and the different systems that were affected. Start by isolating the networks accessed by the attack.

Take a Look at the Damage: Once the attack has been stopped, you need to look at the damage. Knowing how the attack happened can help you prevent and prepare for future attackers.

Notify Those Affected: When you investigate the data breach, you should discover all those who are affected and notify everybody.

Conduct a Security Audit: A security audit is needed to assess the current security systems and then prepare for any future recovery. A lot of organizations think their security is enough, but nobody can say that without a security audit. Security audits can be performed regularly, whether or not there is a data breach.

Greg LaScala