8 Steps to Reduce the Financial Impact of Data Breaches to Your Business

Cyberattacks can inflict enormous financial damage on a business, and the consequences can be devastating.

November 4, 2021

4 Min Read

By Untangle Guest Blogger

Cyberattacks continue to affect businesses of all sizes. To combat these attacks, security professionals and IT departments are implementing more detection and containment methodologies. However, while IT budgets are increasing, only a fraction of this budget is being used on preventative network security measures, with the majority being used for detection, mitigation, recovery and remediation activities. Now is the time for IT departments to realize that taking the time and money to invest in a comprehensive strategy, including prevention, can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to a cyberattack–and therefore greatly reduce the financial impact if a data breach should occur.

The Consequences of a Cyberattack

Cyberattacks can inflict enormous financial damage on a business, and the consequences can be devastating. After an attack, businesses not only have to recover data, but they must also invest in fixing the damaged portions of their network. Business leaders must also deal with lost productivity and the public fallout of announcing a data breach, with possible lawsuits and reputational damage, as well as loss of trust to their business. Businesses that are victims of a cyberattack also experience increases to business insurance policies and the cost of rebuilding the network security to prevent these attacks in the future.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

With the increase in data breaches on businesses of all sizes, it’s not surprising that business leaders want to make sure their organization is prepared to deal with the fallout of a data breach. Employing a preventative strategy when approaching network security can lay a robust foundation to blocking many cyber threats before they infiltrate the network. Securing the corporate network, and devices connected to it, through a multi-layered approach can help prevent infiltration before it occurs. Yet, many organizations believe the initial investment and lack of expertise are barriers to implementing prevention in the cybersecurity lifecycle. However, there are measures every company can take to protect themselves.

8 Cost-effective Security Tools to Build a Prevention Strategy

  1. Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment audit.

Proactive IT security protection starts with a two-part approach. First, conduct an audit of current data security activities in relation to potential threats. Second, with that knowledge, develop a risk assessment plan that includes preventative measures and policies to address the vulnerabilities identified in the audit to protect your data.

  1. Deploy a next-generation firewall.

Next-generation firewalls provide protection at the network gateway (on-premises or in a cloud) with an all-in-one solution that encompasses web content and application filtering, virus blocking, intrusion prevention and secure remote connectivity. Next-generation firewalls also include employee productivity improvements such as bandwidth shaping and application control.

  1. Deploy endpoint protection.

With a diverse array of devices–such as laptops, phones, tablets and other IoT devices– deploying endpoint security throughout the network adds an additional layer for preventing cyberattacks. Network administrators or IT professionals can create policy settings limiting web access to sites known to distribute malware or set specific web filter controls to corporate devices.

  1. Schedule network backups.

A routine backup schedule, that includes database and network configuration, should be stored in a different location outside of the network. Having these backups on hand in the case of a breach will mitigate any need to pay ransom demands and limit network downtime for employees.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

  1. Provide VPN connectivity for hybrid and remote employees.

VPNs allow remote employees to create a safe connection to business-critical applications or data when logging into the network outside of the office. VPNs extend network security policies to remote devices, safeguarding them from intruders lurking on public WiFi or a home network.

  1. Implement password hygiene.

Password hygiene is critical for all employees who can access the corporate network. Training employees to change passwords often, use strong password recommendations and activate two-factor authentication when available will keep credentials and crucial business information secure.

  1. Manage directory access policies.

Limiting access to specific files based on current employee status, department, or even business title, can protect critical information. For example, does a marketing team member need to have access to the financial department’s balance sheets or vendor payment system? This crossover could have serious implications if one employee’s credentials are compromised, allowing unauthorized access to every file on the network.

  1. Train employees continuously.

As security adversaries find new ways to infiltrate networks, keeping employees trained and up to date will only strengthen your network security. Employees should be trained in the following aspects of network security:

  • Corporate data responsibility and compliance regulations

  • Password and credential maintenance

  • Email responsibility with an emphasis on identifying evolving phishing tactics

  • Corporate device policy with attention to VPN connectivity and safeguarding corporate devices from theft

Cyberattacks and data breaches continue to keep IT departments searching for new and innovative ways to outwit cyber criminals. Many departments continue to place a heavy emphasis on detecting unauthorized access or suspicious activities and containing these breaches to minimize the business-wide impact. What many IT department leaders overlook is implementing a more robust preventative strategy to strengthen their network security posture and lay the foundation for multi-layered security safeguards. Instituting effective preventative measures and engaging employees as an additional line of defense against cyberattacks can save businesses not only money, but also productivity and reputation.

 This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.


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