Preventing data breaches should be at the top of every individual and organization’s priority list regarding security. To the casual observer, data breaches are nothing more than a temporary inconvenience and terror. But it is more than just that — a data breach can change the course of the lives of those affected by it. From businesses to governments, as well as individuals — anyone affected would experience huge complications from having sensitive information about their lives or business practices exposed.

Regular people don’t give such breaches enough attention since they are mostly unaware of how modern security threats work. It would interest you to know that hackers can get to you via Bluetooth or through the internet and even text messages.

So whether you’re offline or online, they can get to you. That is why preventing data breaches should be top on your priority list.

This article will teach you about preventing data breaches, as well as what they are in the first place and how they can impact your life.

Also Read: Costly Effect of Data Breach Damage on Businesses

What is a data breach?

A data breach is what happens when weaknesses in technology and user behaviour expose confidential, protected, and sensitive information to an unauthorized person. So basically, there is a data breach when restricted information is viewed and/or shared without permission.

And data breaches can be triggered either maliciously or due to the naivety of individuals.

How does a data breach happen?

The general assumption is that data breaches are solely caused by malicious hackers operating from outside an organization, but as noted earlier, that is far from the truth, and understanding how this works is key to preventing data breaches or minimizing the risk.

A data breach usually occurs due to intentional attacks, yes. However, they can just as easily be the result of an oversight by individuals or due to the flaws in a company’s security infrastructure.

Preventing data breaches begins with knowing possible ways they can occur, and below are some things you need to keep in mind:

  • Lost and (or) stolen devices
    Sometimes, due to negligence, sensitive information is stored on unencrypted and unlocked laptops or external hard drives. When such unprotected storage devices get stolen or lost  — ending up in the hands of anyone with a malicious motive — a data breach happens.
  • Malicious insiders
    Such persons access and share data with the intent of harming the targeted individual or company. Malicious insiders sometimes are legitimately authorized to access and use data, however, they abuse the privilege and instead use the information in nefarious manners.
  • Malicious outsiders
    These types hack into an organization’s network, using various attack methods in gathering information.
  • The unintentional insider breach
    This type of data breach happens when an employee uses their co-worker’s computer and reads files they don’t have clearance or the proper authorization to access.
    Even though the access was unintentional and no information got shared, it is still considered a breach as they were never supposed to see such information in the first place.

Preventing data breaches

In order for your organization to be on top of its game in preventing data breaches, security measures need the involvement of employees at all levels — whether they be end-users or IT personnel. Your security is only as strong as the weakest link. What this means is that even your toddler using a tablet connected to your home network can be a risk.

Consider these best practices below to help you avoid a data breach:

  • Patch and update software as soon as updates become available. Obsolete software is easy for hackers to infiltrate and breach the user’s system.
  • Use high-grade encryption for protecting your sensitive data.
  • Once a manufacturer stops supporting your internet-enabled device, upgrade that device for the security of your data and personal info. A good example is still using Windows XP after Microsoft ended support for it in 2014.
  • Enforce BYOD security policies. For example, make it a requirement for all organization-owned devices to use a business-grade VPN service and antivirus protection. Also, any personal device that will be connected to your network needs the same ‘clearance’.
  • In order to encourage better user cybersecurity practices within your organization, enforce strong credentials and multi-factor authentication. Do well to encourage users to start using a password manager as that can help.
  • Educate your employees on best personal security practices and ways to avoid socially engineered attacks.

Engaging the services of a dedicated data centre host

For some organizations,  it makes sense, economically and security-wise, to engage the services of a technology service provider whose main responsibility would be to manage and protect your organization’s data centre.

preventing data breaches

Here, MTN Ghana provides data centre hosting services for companies and other corporate bodies. Head over to their website and find out for yourself how they can help you and your organization.

To conclude…

From regular individuals to governments and high-level enterprises — everyone stands the risk of being the victim of a data breach. In addition to that, it’s important to note that anyone can be the vector that puts others at risk if they are not protected.


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