Reduce Internal Weaknesses To Minimize Risk Of Data Breaches

The moment you integrate technology into your business, you’ll be under the constant threat of cyber attacks. Vulnerabilities can make you an even more attractive target for hackers who are after one thing – your precious data.

Losing data can result in huge setbacks or shut down your business if it’s really bad. As such, it’s essential that you take precautionary steps to secure your data.

What you may not realize is that external forces are rarely the culprit.

Your biggest enemy is much closer than you think.


Internal Weaknesses: The Leading Cause of Data Loss

When a data breach takes place, a business would instinctively point their finger at some hacker. However, you’d be surprised to know that internal security gaps within the business cause most data loss incidents.

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute reveals the extent of internal weaknesses in businesses across the UK, France, Germany, and the US. Below are some of their most startling findings:

  • 88 percent of employees said they were required to access and utilize sensitive data as part of their job
  • 62 percent of employees said they could access business data they probably shouldn’t
  • Only 25 percent of businesses monitored all activities performed by employees, including third-party emails and file access
  • 38 percent of businesses didn’t monitor any activity at all

In 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reported that 4 out of 5 leading causes of data loss resulted from either the lack of a data security protocol or human error.

At this point, it’s clear that businesses are the ones setting themselves up for disaster.


How to Protect Your Business from Internal Weaknesses

Securing your business from the inside seems to be a sensible choice, considering that most data breaches result from internal and not from external issues. The secret lies in controlling access to sensitive information, whether for sharing or processing.

If you want to minimize your risk for data loss, here are the three steps for reducing your internal weaknesses:


Step 1 – Implement a cybersecurity policy

Have your IT staff create a cybersecurity policy. This is a set of guidelines which employees can follow to ensure that your data is secure whenever they access, process, or share it across your company’s networks.

A proper cybersecurity policy includes:

  • An acceptable use policy which outlines the allowable use of your company’s hardware, software, and data – including storage and shareability.
  • A remote access policy which provides guidelines on how staff can access data from a remote location, which features are available for keeping data safe, and the processes by which mobile devices are secured.
  • A privacy policy which includes what staff can do with your business data, the locations where sensitive information is stored (and why), and the safety precautions taken to protect said data.

When implementing these policies, highlight the consequences which employees could face should they fail to follow them.


Step 2 – Provide education and training

Your staff will need more than a pep talk. If you really want them to learn the ins and outs of cybersecurity, you should keep them informed and up-to-date with the latest standards and practices in data protection.

Launch awareness campaigns, send out newsletters, and hold meetings when necessary. These should create a culture of cybersecurity within your business. Training programs can further strengthen your internal data security since they teach employees how to respond to specific threats.


Step 3 – Let IT specialists handle the rest

It doesn’t matter if you have your own team, if you’ve outsourced the help of an IT company, or both. Whoever is filling in your needs is responsible for monitoring data access throughout your networks. They can do so with the help of tools and programs which they can set up and make available at your disposal.

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