How you can protect your company from the next data breach
On average, a data breach costs companies about 7 million dollars – and many companies still don’t know how to protect themselves. Let’s take a look at a few of the changes that you can make to protect your company from the next cyber attack.
Size doesn’t matter: all companies are equally vulnerable
An average data breach costs the affected company around 7 million dollars due to the loss of customers, business disruption, the effect on brand reputation, fines, and so on. Small businesses are especially at risk because many of them do not even have basic security tools in place, such as antivirus, firewalls or encryption software.
At the same time, large companies and even government organizations are also vulnerable. A couple of years ago, one NSA employee took classified material home and transferred it to his own personal computer, which had the Russian-made Kaspersky Labs antivirus software installed. This enabled Russian hackers to download all the secret files. The theft helped Russian government to evade US cyber espionage and to track American activities.
More recently, Equifax – one of USA’s major credit card reporting companies – was attacked, and hackers went away with the personal information of more than 140 million people in the US and other countries.
Other scenarios where your business data may be breached:
- Using an ad-hoc office. Many people these days like to work from a coffee shop using free (and usually unsecured) Wi-Fi. Open Wi-Fi networks hold a number of threats to data security.
- Hiring remote workers. Having employees all over the country, or even the world, can put businesses at risk in terms of cyber security. Transmitting data online without proper precautions may lead to cyber attacks and data breaches.
- Providing a free Wi-Fi hotspot. This one is particularly relevant to small businesses as they usually provide their customers with access to free internet. If someone infects or steals your customer data while using the unsecured Wi-Fi of yours, the reputation of your business will suffer tremendously.
An important note: If fallen victim to such hack, you should act immediately by informing all affected customers and doing everything you can to ensure that people know how to protect themselves. That includes advising them to change their passwords and possibly even their bank accounts.
Take your privacy into your own hands. Here’s what you should do first
As you know by now, ensuring the data security of any business is essential, as losing valuable information about your business or compromising the data of your customers may have dire consequences – so rather than deal with them, it’s always wiser to prevent major hacks from happening. Here are a few tips how to do it with a small investment:
- introduce the key principles of cyber security to your staff
- teach them to use only https sites
- update your router’s firmware
- consider using Ethernet
- invest in a reliable VPN provider, especially if you have a BYOD policy in place.
How can a VPN help your business?
You may already know what a VPN (virtual private network) is; it is a proven method to transmit any information confidentially to employees or clients. It also allows to safely execute financial transactions and to stay private in countries with high Internet censorship. Additionally, using a VPN can help companies bypass bandwidth throttling, surveillance or tracking by ISPs.
A VPN connects a user to their desired website through an encrypted virtual tunnel. The VPN server acts as a relay between the Internet and a computer, so no third parties can see what data is transmitted through the web. Good VPNs have many servers all over the world, making it easier for you to establish a secure connection at any time.
NordVPN secures your business data by applying military-grade encryption to all data that your staff sends or receives over the Internet. It will also protect your employees from the risk of working from unsecured Wi-Fi spots, such as hotels, cafes, or airports. This is especially relevant in the light of the recently revealed KRACK vulnerability, which allows hackers to intercept the traffic going through the majority of Wi-Fi connections if they are within the range of that connection.
So the sooner you secure your online communications with a VPN for business, the better it is for your company.