How to regularly assess your data security strategy

Does your data security strategy involve installing antivirus software and then letting it work its magic? If so, you’re inviting big risks to your business.

Cybercriminals work around the clock, and basic antivirus software isn’t enough to stop them. Like all business owners, your organization has unique flaws that attackers can exploit. Because of this, you need to assess your security strategy from time to time. Here are some ways you can do so.

How to assess your data security strategy

How you assess your data security strategy may vary according to the industry you’re in. But if you’re looking for ideas, here are some ways to start:

Run a drill

There are lots of ways you can run a drill to look for different types of breaches. For example, in 2018, phishing attacks grew by 40.9%. Therefore, all businesses could benefit from simulating such attacks with their employees. If they fail your test, it’s a sign that you need to improve your cybersecurity education.

Addressing employee education is important, as human error accounts for 95% of breaches. When you let employee education fall short, you’re leaving your business very vulnerable to attacks. 

Assess password changes

Ideally, your employees will use strong passwords and change them every 90 days. It’s worth analyzing your systems to see how often passwords are being changed. If you’re falling short of the 90-day average, you need to make sure your employees begin making changes more regularly.

Changing passwords regularly doesn’t guarantee that a cybercriminal won’t gain access to your systems. However, it does significantly reduce the risk of them becoming successful. With attackers using increasingly sophisticated techniques to crack passwords, regular changes can make a big difference to your business’s cybersecurity.

Check for software updates

Software updates don’t just exist to make your systems run more smoothly. They’re released by the manufacturer to patch vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit for their own benefit.

Ask your IT team to regularly check for updates. When an update becomes apparent, they need to act on it immediately. You may also want to create contingency plans for when your software is updating. If you’re dependent on certain apps, having an alternative piece of software in place or scheduling the update for outside of office hours minimizes disruption.

Perform regular backups

Can you imagine how your business would operate without its last 24 hours of data? If the consequences would be expensive or disastrous, you need to perform regular backups as a part of your data security strategy.

Ideally, one of your backup sources will be at an offsite location. This ensures you’re protected against natural disasters, as well as hackers.

Signs you need to perform an assessment

If you already feel as though you’re doing a lot to protect your data, it’s hard to know whether an assessment is necessary. But if you’re encountering any of the following, an assessment is definitely required;

  • Your employees routinely make the same cybersecurity mistakes, which indicates they need more education.
  • You regularly receive urgent warnings about not updating or renewing your software.
  • It’s been a while since you last backed up your data.
  • There’s a chance you’re not compliant with your industry’s guidelines.
  • You rely on basic antivirus and antimalware software to protect your business.

By putting more effort into assessing your data security strategy, you can close the loopholes cybercriminals may use to attack your system. As a result, you’ll protect your reputation and your bottom line.

Investing in a solid data security plan can save you time and money

Cybercriminals operate around the clock, and in many cases their efforts are successful. You only need to look at the rising number of data security breaches to understand how true this is. At present, the cybercrime economy is worth an astonishing $1.9-trillion, and it is organizations such as yours who are footing the bill.

One way to prevent your business from lining a cybercriminal’s pocket is to invest in a solid data security plan. If you’re still not convinced, it’s time to learn more about how a data security plan can save you time and money.

Timely responses to threats

On average, it takes 50 days for a security breach to be discovered. Depending on the nature of the breach, each day that goes by could cost you a significant amount of money. And, there’s a chance it’ll waste a lot of your time too. The longer a breach remains unaddressed, the more work you’ll have to do to secure your systems and pacify key stakeholders. 

Using ongoing threat intelligence is one way to speed up the discovery of breaches. Ideally, no breaches will happen at all. Well, threat intelligence proves useful there too. It analyzes patterns of risk to strengthen your security and make it harder for cybercriminals to be successful.

A better understanding of your data

Information security plans (ISPs) include an ongoing assessment of your data. They look at the categories of data you’re collecting and how it’s used. This can include everything from insider information to employee and customer data.

The financial ramifications associated with ongoing data loss can vary according to each category. With your ISP, you can plan for losses according to different categories and form a disaster response accordingly. With a well-researched disaster recovery plan, balancing the financial repercussions of data breaches becomes easier and the accuracy you gain could help your business remain solvent.

Avoiding significant fines

Data breaches result in financial losses in various ways. One of those ways is the fines you attract if you’re not compliant. Staying compliant with your industry’s guidelines protects data and guards your company in the event of a loss. Without a solid data security plan, you may lack the research that’s needed to maintain compliance.

A great data security plan will always consider industry compliance. Although this prevents all financial losses in the event of a breach, it can prevent a fine that could ruin your organization. Additionally, it will protect your reputation, which can make a big difference when securing ongoing business.

Preventing costly downtime

When someone acts to eliminate your data, the time you spend recovering can become fatal. If your security plan doesn’t include timely backups, you’ll find yourself reproducing a significant amount of work. Consider whether losing even 24 hours of data is likely to harm your company. That means losing 24 hours’ worth of revenue and progress.

With excellent data backup plans, you can avoid costly downtime. As a result, any losses you experience will cost your company less.

Using a solid data security plan, you can reduce downtime, prevent loss of productivity, and save money. Now, all you need to do is create a plan that achieves all that.