In an article by Frankie Wallace on January 16, 2020 from U.S. Cybersecurity Magazine  entitled, “Steps Businesses Must Take to Prevent Data Breaches”, the author writes about various ways a business can reduce the risks of experiencing data breaches.  These seven areas covered included the following.

First, it is critical for every company to use updated anti-virus software.  These are computer programs used to prevent malware like viruses or worms.  Features with the best security options have email scanning, data shredder, and encryption.

Second, it is imperative that cyber security training be given to each employee of the company.  Training programs should consist of cloud service usage, malware awareness, and risk digital communication.  The goal is for the employees to understand the best practices of identifying, assessing, and reporting information security threats.

Third, passwords need to be updated regularly as hackers may easily access accounts and tamper with sensitive data.  When selecting passwords avoid personal information, real words and try a minimum of 10 characters or longer.

Fourth, avoid unsecure networks such as public Wi-Fi, especially if employees freelance or work remotely.  Suggest using only encrypted sites, virtual private networks, and avoid mobile apps that require sensitive information.

Fifth, avoid personal devices at work as cyber criminals can target the devices and use them as gateways to access data.  Protocols must be put in place by the company where employees have restrictions with the use of their phones, the importance of reporting lost devices, and providing anti-virus software for their devices.

Sixth, do not ignore update reminders on software otherwise this will create opportunities for hackers to penetrate your company’s system.  Also, software patches can be downloaded from the software maker’s website that will fix bugs and can give an added layer of protection.

Seventh, learn from others.  Security plans should be updated regularly.  Gain insight and tips on how other businesses have addressed data breaches.  Finally, put a response team in place for damage control if it occurs.