In the age of data breaches, cybersecurity can get overwhelmingly complex for entrepreneurs. Tie it up with sales and countless other facets of your operations, and the knot gets increasingly tangled.

The problem? Business threats aren’t always defined. They take different forms, such as vandalism, break-ins, employee theft, and data breaches. But since ignoring data security isn’t an option, you need the right security protocols to keep your data safe.

Luckily, there are experts with helpful advice and breaching attempts can be prevented. Once you educate your team members on cybersecurity, half the battle won.

90 percent of cyberattacks are due to human error.

That’s just one of the errors that we’ll highlight in our list below. Keep reading to learn other data security mistakes that businesses make (and how you can prevent them).

5 Common Data Security Mistakes and How To Prevent Them

1. Your IT is unaware of security trends.

An IT security department is a crucial part of any business that operates online. Hence, it’s important that your IT is aware of the various technology trends and developments (as well as cybercrime trends).

Of course, when it comes to data security, one shouldn’t implement every new technology trend. It’s good to research the best security measurements with proven track records.

Some of the most reliable security mechanisms include encryption and key management. These tried-and-true methods have been working on the same protocol for years.

In short, your security planner’s job is which practice is sound, and which is too good to be true.

2. Your workforce lacks security acumen.

Remember the statistics mentioned earlier? Add phishing to it.

42 percent of corporate emails were reported as risks in 2018.

Aside from phishing scams, other errors could harm your company. These include:

  • Employees writing down sensitive account information, which gets misplaced.
  • Employees sharing credentials with colleagues or external parties.

To prevent these common security errors, you’ll need to train your employees.

  • Mandate a security process for your company.
  • Start the process with upper management and descend from there.
  • Establish security protocols wherever and whenever possible.
  • Schedule employee system updates and follow up on these.

Bonus Tip: Run a fake phishing scam within your organization. Track the number of people that clicked on the email you sent. Record how many entered sensitive data. Use this info to build a data security educational workshop.

3. You don’t map your data flow.

Is dealing with data a significant part of your business? If you collect and use data to understand your customers and interact with them, then you must have strict security measures in place to protect this data.

To test your data security practices, answer these questions:

  • Do you have an on-site server or is your data stored remotely in the cloud?
  • How do you protect your data in case of a hardware failure?
  • Do you have a data backup plan?
  • What is your data flow like?
  • What parties have data access along the transfer route?
  • How is your data encrypted?
  • How do you prevent unauthorized parties from viewing data?
  • How much do you know about cloud storage security?

Once you identify and refine these processes, you can understand the flow of your data. From there, you can take the right steps to protect your company’s data.

Bonus Tip: Ask your IT to test your system’s access levels, then make improvements as needed.

4. Your security tests are infrequent.

As the number of employees in your organization increases, so does the number of devices and chances of risk.

Aside from basic computers and laptops, your customers and employees use tablets, wearables, and smartphones. More devices, more chances of lost, exploited devices.

That’s why it’s vital that you test your network, database, and internal applications regularly. This is the only way to find vulnerabilities and weak points that can put your data at risk.

By using these security tests, your data security team can discover risks and problems before a hacker does.

2 ways to conduct security testing

  1. Network Penetration Testing is a security exercise that lets cyber-security experts identify exploitable vulnerabilities in a computer system before a hacker can attack it.
  2. Vulnerability scan, also known as vulnerability assessment, creates an inventory of all systems (computers, containers, firewalls, switches, virtual machines, etc.) connected to a network and tests them for security weaknesses.

Bonus Tip: Another way to spot vulnerabilities is through a user feedback form; this will help you find potential issues that you might otherwise miss.

5. You have a bare minimum mentality.

Having a “checkbox compliance” mentality wherein you focus on meeting the bare minimum security standards is the worst thing you can do when it comes to data security.

In the long run, the bare minimum creates more headaches for your organization, because it makes you prone to cyberattacks. That’s why successful companies focus on meeting industry-standard security requirements. They understand that these best practices are actually cost-effective in the long run.

Bonus Tip: If you store data, be sure it’s encrypted at rest. Never save sensitive information (like user data or passwords) as plain text.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity threats are diverse, widespread, and constantly evolving. We don’t know what challenges await us every morning. Fostering a culture of data security and protection will reduce risks and extend the longevity of your venture.

In short, start protecting your business with the basics: Install firewalls, require that users log in with multi-factor or two-factor authentication, and schedule security tests. Enforcing security policies across your organization is vital to preventing data security errors.