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Business Tips: Are You Increasing The Risk Of Data Breaches Unknowingly?

February 28, 2015


Research shows that the rate and frequency of data breaches is on the increase. Companies, however, are still taking a relaxed approached to dealing with the potentially disastrous problem. Most companies have no policies, whatsoever, regarding the safeguarding of confidential information or a response plan in case of an information security breach. Information is the sole business of some companies and should therefore be protected and kept safe at all times. Here are a few ways that companies are increasing the risk of data breaches unknowingly and their possible solutions.

Throwing of confidential information into the recycling bin

Criminals might scour through your garbage in search of valuable information to sell to the highest bidder (usually your competitors) or for personal gain. It is therefore a terrible idea to throw documents into an open recycling bin. Companies should partner with shredding services to help them protect their information and keep it from unwanted eyes and criminals. The service should help set up a proper chain of custody and provide locked consoles that limit the access of confidential information by anyone other than authorized personnel.

Business Continuity Management

Many businesses have no idea what Business Continuity Management (BCM) is. A business continuity Management, is a plan that identifies the risk of exposure of a business to internal or external attacks for purposes of planning. Research has shown that BCM can greatly reduce the cost of any information security breach greatly.

Lack of an official cyber security policy

A large number of companies have no official policy, whatsoever, regarding cyber security. Research has shown that almost half of all information security breaches are a result of cyber-attacks on organizations. Some of the attacks come from inside the companies themselves. It is therefore advisable for every company to have a cyber-security policy that protects it from data breaches resulting from cyber-attacks.

Haphazard document management

Most companies have unorganized document management processes and no tracking system for confidential documents. This exposes the company to the risk of a data breach. There should be a system to track confidential documents right from storage, usage and document destruction. Confidential documents should also have restricted access and only authorized employees should have access to any given document. Perhaps an effective way to deal with this risk is to have a shred-all policy. This would help eliminate the need to make the decision whether a document is confidential or not.

Stock-piled hard drives and personal devices with no security protocols

Some companies do not dispose of their hard drives. These hard drives contain information that might be confidential. Research in the field of information security has shown that the only sure way to get rid of data from hard drives is to totally destroy them.

Some companies have their employees bring their own devices, for example smart-phones and laptops for use in the office. These gadgets usually have no information security protocols in place and therefore creates a hole in the information security plan of the company. Loss of such devices not only pose an information security risk but mean the company loses valuable data.

Neglecting physical security

There are some physical safeguards that are ignored by some companies but are very important in information security. For example, there should be visitor sign in to monitor traffic in and out of the company. Security alarms, cameras and a clean desk policy may also help in information security by enabling monitoring of the company’s internal environment.

Other companies have no one in charge of information security. There should be a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who provides leadership in physical security and cyber security processes and policies within the organization.

Lack of Incidence response plans

Some companies have no plan in place for responding to data or information breaches. To reduce the cost and damage of a breach, a company should have an incidence response plan. The plan should stipulate what should be done and how the employees should respond in the event that there is a data breach

Poor prioritization and lack of company culture

Some companies have no corporate culture that support information security throughout the company. Most of the work is either left to the administration or the IT department. Information security is a big and important part of any organization and for it to be implemented effectively, the whole organization needs to make an effort and work as a team. This means making it a companywide priority.

In conclusion, companies need to wake and realize that data breaches are a real threat to the wellbeing of their businesses and find ways to curb it effectively. They can no longer afford to ignore it.  A lot of planning and financial allocation should go into catering for information security issues like training of staff members and providing security protocols for management of confidential documents – both hard and soft copies.

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