Five Things That Threaten Your Business’ Data

4 minute read

Data security 

Data security is a significant area of business management nowadays. To stay compliant with UK laws, there are many aspects that have to be brought together. A data breach can be very dangerous to your business. Research has shown the costs of a data breach can result in more than 60% of businesses closing within six months.

The average cost of a data breach rose by 8% in 2018, and it now stands at about £113 per record stolen. This made the cost of the average data breach £2.95 million.

It is always better to ensure that you are proactive with your data protection rather than reactive. So you need to plug many of the security gaps that are common within organisations. Here are the five most common business elements that can place your business at risk.


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1. Staff security

One of the biggest flaws within any organisation is the employees. It isn’t always intentional from the employee's point of view. Sometimes it can be an honest mistake, like clicking on a link contained with an email. According to a survey of American business leaders, 47% of all data breaches were a result of employee accidents.

Yet you still have to be worried about internal malicious damage. Studies in the UK’s third sector found that half of all charities had suffered an internal cyber attack.

The problem lies with how you deal with employee threats. No matter how much technology you throw at your IT system, there will always be human error. Accidental deletion of files and folders is a major cause of data breaches. Yet training can reduce the number of incidents happening in your business.

Training needs to be conducted regularly. Threats are constantly changing, and staff need to be made aware of the latest security threats. Also, staff might forget important security processes. A quick reminder is a way to tighten this security gap.

 

2. Malware and ransomware

Malware and ransomware are two of the biggest problems your business will experience. Data can be corrupted or stolen, and this can lead to big fines and a massive loss of productivity. How these problems enter your computer system is different. They could be downloaded directly into your computer system or they could be downloaded via a link in an email or on a webpage.

Whatever the source of the breach, you need to limit the potential for these to affect your business. Staff training can get you some distance. However, you can also look at installing anti-virus software, use firewalls and use cloud services.

Using cloud services is one of the best options because the supplier of the services spend their time keeping systems up-to-date with the latest security software. In contrast, only about 38% of small businesses actually keep their software updated. This is a massive gap in your security.

If you struggle with updating software to keep data in a secure environment, a cloud system offers the best alternative because you’re paying for the service provider to keep your data behind an updated secure server.

In addition, a cloud-based data storage network allows your staff to work remotely and utilise hot desking – both of which are shown to have positive effects on employees.

 

3. Remote working dangers

There is another issue with remote working. Businesses who allow staff to complete work at home run the risk of their data being used on an insecure computer system. Also, transporting data from site to site can be risky. Many famous data breaches have been caused by data being lost while on public transport.

This is where cloud solutions can be of real benefit. Because data is available through a secure system and not transported physically, the risk of it being stolen is minimised. There is still a risk for businesses because laptops and other computing equipment can be stolen and on these passwords can be stolen. However, the risk is greatly minimised.

In addition, staff need to be careful when logging into public wi-fi networks. While this might offer great working conditions, they are also a security gap that needs to be closely monitored. A hacker could easily use the opportunity of a worker in a cafe to access your system.

 

4. Insecure passwords

Whether they’re connected to administration accounts or employee accounts, passwords are actually very vulnerable to attack. This is because too many people create poor passwords that are easily cracked by hackers and other malicious groups.

In 2018, it was reported that the most common passwords were, 123456, password, 123456789, 12345678, 12345, 111111, 1234567 and sunshine. It isn’t hard for a hacker to guess an account name or email address. So, if they have that, and someone is using one of those passwords, a hacker has access to your computer system.

 

Passwords need to be secure. This means they need to contain:

  • A mixture of letters and numbers
  • A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters
  • At least one, if not two, special characters

 

5. Passwords need to be secure

They need to contain:

  • A mixture of letters and numbers
  • A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters
  • At least one, if not two, special characters

They should also not be identifiable words like Pa55w0rd!. Passwords such as %fGth67dhR6 are much better. They might be harder to remember, but they are also impossible to guess. Hackers also know that if people are using a random combination of special characters, letters and numbers there are a potential of 645,753,531,245,761 combinations. This is impossible to guess and most systems allow between three and ten chances.

Staff should also know that they shouldn’t share log-in credentials. According to some statistics, 19% of all employees will share their credentials with peers for a number of reasons including holiday leave, sickness, to help peers complete tasks, etc.. However, there is never really a good reason for your staff to share their details.

In addition, the sharing of credentials could be classed as a data breach. In the US, it is illegal for colleagues to share details.

Data breaches are a clear and present threat to your business. However, they are manageable with good technology and cloud services. You just need to ensure your systems are updated regularly and staff are trained to avoid the many pitfalls that can often lead to a breach.

To find out more about how you can implement a secure solution that protects your business' data, get in touch!

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