How can your business prevent data breaches?
On Wednesday, 18 August 2021, T-Mobile confirmed a major security breach occurred against the company. The data of over 40 million users was accessed and leaked. In some cases, information such as social security numbers and personal information was compromised, prompting the company to take immediate action to ensure safety.
The T-Mobile data breach is a huge concern for individuals, businesses, governments and organizations. The company claims it has identified and blocked the gate of entry of the attack, but it’ll be interesting to see how the story unfolds in the coming days, weeks and months.
This blog post will discuss why this is such an important topic and why it is crucial for every company that handles personal data to keep it safe.
How can businesses reduce the threat of a “data hack” and manage the ensuing crisis?
Today, it is T-Mobile, but what would happen if your company’s data were hacked and then leaked onto the internet? It could lead to a firestorm of negative media coverage, lost customer trust, damaged reputation, or even shareholder lawsuits.
The situation is made worse by how quickly things can spread these days as people share information on social networks like Facebook and Twitter at lightning speed. But you don’t have to risk it all for this not-so relaxing reality – here are some ways that businesses can reduce their chances of suffering from an attack in the first place:
- Employ a third-party security consultancy with qualified personnel who invest time into managing the latest vulnerabilities
- Developing an emergency response plan and working to it immediately after a hack
- Implementing robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard valuable data
- Constantly testing your systems and training personnel to react in a real-time situation
- Educating yourself about how hackers steal information.
A better and more cohesive organizational structure can prevent a data breach.
The more cohesive your organisational structure, the less likely you are to have a data breach. Matt Nixon, Analytics Director at Molzana discusses how siloed organisations are putting themselves at risk:
“It is absolutely imperative that data security practices are agnostic of all component departments.”
“Often, the biggest risk to organisations is their structure. Businesses of the size and scale of T-Mobile are complex, spanning multiple territories and industry verticals. As such, the makeup of the organization can be equally convoluted, with several businesses units comprising of hundreds of employees each. Each with its unique practices and its own processes, not to mention siloed budgets and narrow thinking which can extend to its own technology and security stacks.
It is absolutely imperative that data security practices are agnostic of all component departments. Security protocol and procedure should be agreed upon and managed centrally with buy-in from each team and business unit. Centralised action should be taken on a number of topics such as security policy and legal due diligence, technology standards, employee training and risk identification (and the reporting thereof)
A specific data and technology security team can work with all stakeholders to ensure standards are kept consistently high. This negates risk, protects customers and avoids immeasurable reputational damage.”
Increased security measures and technology can prevent data breaches.
One of the best ways to protect your information and others in an organization is by implementing data security policies. A breach can have a huge impact on people’s lives if their personal information gets leaked or stolen from hackers who are looking for easy targets. Many solutions help you prevent this, such as changing passwords often, using firewalls and antivirus software, and having strong authentication processes when logging into accounts. Only authorized users may enter private areas. In addition, to make sure everything is running smoothly, it helps both IT professionals and employees alike stay up-to-date with news about technology developments that could be used against these preventive measures like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).
Disaster recovery protocol and procedure to prevent a data breach
Data breaches happen all the time, but you can prevent this with a disaster recovery protocol and procedure.
A disaster recovery protocol is a set of rules for restoring your data after it was lost or corrupted. The process starts with assessing the degree to which you think the damage will affect you and then choosing how much you should spend time and money repairing any damage caused by the incident before going back online. For example, suppose there has been no significant loss of data as determined from backup files. In that case, only minimal downtime may need to occur depending on what kind of calculations are needed for specific programs that would typically run at different times during an outage (e.g., payroll). More severe scenarios might require more extensive measures like rebuilding databases or programming software where all copies have been erased due to hardware failure.
Immediate and better communication with impacted users of a data breach
Immediate and better communication with impacted users of a data breach is the new standard in customer service. Unfortunately, going beyond expectations for customers has become so rare. But, it seems to be what customers seek more than anything else these days. For example, reach out to customers via live chat services, phone support lines, online portals where people can ask questions about your company in private, you name it! You have an opportunity to hear from them first-hand when things go wrong before anyone writes another article bashing your brand.
Securing the source of the breach and giving guidance to users on how to safeguard their information
Brands and businesses should always put the customer first, communicate the issue and implement or share measures to safeguard user data as a priority. If you are a customer of a company that has suffered a data breach, you should contact the company via their official website or social media channels. Don’t click on any links or contact details. Scam messages to be avoided Examine your online accounts for unusual activity.
We understand how stressful a data breach can be for you or anyone else affected. Our advice is to remain vigilant and keep an eye on the official company website and police investigations. We suggest you talk to someone about your concerns as dealing with this alone can be difficult.