By John Svoboda
The global cost of a data breach was a whopping $4.2 million in 2022, according to IBM. It’s a number that should make any company outside of the Fortune 500 take another look at its data security practices. However, this number—while significant—only tells one aspect when it comes to the consequences of failing to protect consumer information.
Even for businesses that can weather the fines, lawsuits, and other monetary expenses associated with a breach, the cost of rebuilding the trust of customers and preventing employees from burning out during the long and arduous recovery process can end up being too much to come back from. There’s a reason 60% of small businesses shut down within six months of a cyberattack.
The most frustrating thing about these breaches is that the vast majority are preventable. Nearly half aren’t the result of bad actors but simple accidents that could have been avoided with better best practices.
Nearly half of data breaches aren’t the result of bad actors but simple accidents that could have been avoided with better best practices.
With this in mind, let’s look at three areas executives can focus on to improve data security measures and significantly reduce the chances of being hit by a data breach they can’t recover from.
Three ways to keep customer information safe
1. Encrypt Everything.
If you store any information in plain text, you are raising a big red flag on your back. Strong encryption helps ensure that, even if sensitive data is taken, cybercriminals cannot read it. Invest in an encrypted file storage solution and a secure file transfer tool to keep that data encrypted even when it’s on the move.
2. Educate Employees.
User error is a leading cause of data leaks. This might sound bad, but it’s good news. It means that every organization has the power to prevent most leaks from happening in the first place. It’s up to each business to educate its employees on security best practices, providing regular training and clear policy updates to reflect technological changes and the presence of new threats.
3. Stay Up-To-Date.
If your hardware is obsolete or your software is not being updated regularly, you’re holding the door open for hackers to come right through. It’s crucial to keep everything updated and install the latest security patches. This simple policy can make a huge difference in data security.
While no protection can guarantee your customers’ data is 100% safe, there are clear steps you can take to significantly reduce the chances of it getting into the wrong hands. By taking these steps, you’ll directly contribute to your business’s long-term health and success.
Svoboda is the VP of Marketing for AXEL Go, one of the most secure file management and encrypted file storage solutions available to the public to collect, store, and share files. John has over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience at top agencies and large corporations. John is actively involved in developing a branding strategy to drive data awareness, as the key to data security.