With the evolution of the digital age and the new ways of doing and marketing business, personal data has come to gain great relevance, making it the most important asset in many companies, and therefore, its value in the market has increased.

For this reason, data breach has become very relevant in recent years. Companies of all sizes have been affected by this situation, from identity theft, banking information, to the hijacking of information, to name a few.

According to statistics, nearly 8.4 billion records have been exposed in the Q1 of 2020 alone, which represents a 273% increase in comparison with the first semester of 2019.

The report mentions that the business sector represents 67% of those reported and 84.6% of the records exposed, which highlights the need for companies to pay greater attention to their security measures on the protection of personal data.

The following are the top 5 best practices recommended for companies to avoid being exposed to a data breach and as a result, loss of confidence by their customers.

Although all countries have different regulations for dealing with data breaches, or no regulation at all, the following are five good practices to avoid being exposed to a data breach:

1. Develop a plan to prevent data breach.

Planning is the key to success. A data breach prevention plan must be developed considering (a) the type of data being handled by the company; (b) the treatment given; (c) where and how the data is stored; (d) if there is an obligation to notify the local authority; among others.

This plan will be the guide to follow when dealing with potential data breach issues, and should also be highly adaptable to help mitigate constantly evolving threats.

2. Make staff aware of security risks.

There is no bullet proof prevention software for data breaches. Therefore, companies must make conscious efforts to increase awareness throughout the organization about (a) security threats; and (b) cybersecurity prevention techniques. 

This will be key to ensure that employees are aware of the types of threats they might receive, as well as the techniques to prevent them from happening. 

3Train staff on a regular basis.

End-user is the weakest link in the chain, this leads to employee negligence being one of the main factors that lead to a data breach.

It is important to have regular security awareness trainings to remind employees of evolving security threats. This will allow staff to be alert on data breach attempts and learn techniques to protect information when communicating.

4. Keep personal and business hardware separate

Regardless of the company’s size, there is always the temptation to use the same laptop or cell phone for business and personal use. However, this can significantly increase exposure, as rigorous security measures are not typically implemented on a personal device.

The ideal is to use a computer, cell phone and/or tablet for your business and another for personal matters. However, it is also understood that it is a very large investment in hardware that not all companies can or are willing to make. Therefore, secure mechanisms must be identified to allow employees to have information on their personal devices, without this being a door to violate the security of the company and to produce a data breach.

5. Have security measures in place

There are ways to prevent security breaches using technology. Companies of all sizes can now encrypt information, which can be an excellent ally in the event of a security incident, as any stolen data will be encrypted and meaningless. Also securing email domains against email spoofing attacks by implementing email authentication protocols. Other options (a) are incorporating phishing incident response tool to instantly report suspicious-looking and unsolicited emails; (b) keeping software and applications updated; (c) using a VPN connections for protected networks while working remotely. Finally, it is important to emphasize that data breach can not only trigger the loss of trust by customers but could also trigger liability for damages if the data breach causes any direct damage to third parties.