Cyberattacks have been dominating the news recently, and it isn't without merit. You'd be surprised how slow the business world has been to react to these stories. Believe it or not, 60% of businesses have no cybersecurity plan at all.
Luckily, there is no challenge standing in their way. With the right planning, you can protect your user data and company data without having to break the bank.
Let's talk about how the importance of proper data protection in 2022 and how you can protect your business!
What Is a Data Protection Plan?
Generally speaking, the main goal of a cybersecurity strategy is to protect a company's data from attackers. There are many potential ways that an attacker can access your data, through employee manipulation, malware, or password attacks.
Proper data protection should limit these risks, monitor systems, offer proper data encryption, and comply with applicable data privacy laws.
Essentially, there are hundreds of potential "doors" for an attacker to breach any system. If any of them are left open, then they will take them. Here are a few examples:
- Weak passwords
- Outdated software (web browsers, anti-malware, etc.)
- Physical theft (hard drives, computers, etc.)
- Lacking security
- Unsecured file-sharing
- Psychological manipulation (social engineering)
The list goes on, and even more doors open when you have a network of blended or remote workers. A data protection plan seeks to close as many of these doors as possible, limit risks, educate staff, monitor your systems, and implement a disaster recovery plan.
5 Reasons You Need Data Protection
If you're thinking that data protection isn't for you, you're not alone. A lot of companies will try to sell your business software you don't need, right?
Well, that's the problem for most small businesses, as data protection should be considered an essential business purchase. Here's why.
1. Cyberattacks Are on the Rise
Password attacks, social engineering attacks, and ransomware attacks are on the rise, and they are only becoming more sophisticated.
With the sharp rise of deep fake technology and ransomware as a service (RaaS) since the start of the pandemic, more and more businesses are falling victim to these crimes every day.
Believe it or not, 2021 surpassed 2020's total number of attacks by September, and 2022 is on track to surpass that.
Unfortunately, investing in cybersecurity is more important than ever, and that starts by protecting your most valuable asset; your data.
2. Attacks Are Costly
How costly, you ask? Well, the average cyberattack costs small businesses $200,000, and more than half are forced to close down within six months after an attack.
Also, most businesses don't even notice a breach took place within the first six months. Imagine the damage that can take place in that time, which explains why businesses are unlikely to recover.
Investing in data protection is your best defense against such a harmful attack. In today's world, it ranks with business insurance as a necessary expense.
3. Small Businesses Are the Prime Target
The biggest mistake a small business owner can make is to assume that they won't be the victim of an attack. As it happens, they are the most likely victims.
When you think about cyber crimes from the attacker's perspective, you quickly see why small businesses would be their favorite targets.
Large corporations may have the highest payouts for a successful attack, but few attackers would be able to infiltrate a company like Apple.
Conversely, individuals may have weaker (or non-existent) security, but their payouts are too small to be worth it. As a result, small businesses are in the sweet spot. Lacking security with high payouts is a recipe for disaster, and no business is immune.
If you work in the legal, healthcare, education, or similar sectors, there are many data privacy laws that affect your business. To stay compliant with these laws, you will need to protect your data.
In the event of a breach, you could be held liable for improperly stored information in certain circumstances, so it's best to stay protected before it's too late.
For the healthcare industry, HIPAA violations can result in fines of up to $25,000, and that's on top of any lost business, ransom payouts, or anything else.
5. Proper Data Storage Is More Efficient
If you currently use a hard drive or another outdated system for your data storage, you'll be amazed at how much more efficient a private cloud network is.
Not only does it store your data more securely, but it will allow you to access that data from anywhere in a safe manner.
Also, secure filesharing, remote desktop, and other modern data technologies will allow you and your employees to share and access data from anywhere without worrying about breaches.
If you have remote or hybrid workers in your company, the right GDPR data protection will make transitions easier and safer for everybody, even if they're all using different devices.
6. Public Relations
Let's say that you were breached and you managed to recover financially; you weren't held liable for any data privacy laws, and you've still managed to keep your system as efficient as possible.
If that's (somehow) the case, there is still one glaring issue, and that's your customers. When user data is breached, one of the most common reasons for a company's demise is the loss of business.
Customers tend to shop with brands and inherently trust them to keep their data safe. When that trust is broken, they're unlikely to offer a second chance.
To save face, and to have a disaster recovery plan in the event of a breach, a cybersecurity plan is essential for businesses of all sizes.
How to Implement Your New Data Protection Plan
Now that you know why data protection is so important, you likely want to know what you can do as a business owner. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your business. The problem is that businesses aren't using these methods.
Well, you can break the cycle. Here's how.
Staff education is a crucial, but often overlooked, part of data security. A business owner can be an expert in cybersecurity, but if other people with access to user data aren't in the loop, then your system is still vulnerable.
Social engineering scams, like phishing, are becoming more common and more sophisticated. Everybody knows not to send money to the "Nigerian prince" but that's no longer the threat.
Instead, deep fake technology is being used to replicate company email signatures and addresses, photos, and more to access company data.
The more your employees know about potential dangers, the more protected your company will be. Also, you'll want to update staff on any new security protocols as they come.
Implement Security Protocols
Protocols that include changing passwords every 3 to 6 months, a channel to report suspicious activity, and which devices are allowed on which network are a good start.
However, there's a lot more you can do for a security strategy, which should also include using the right tools. We mentioned cloud storage, but it doesn't stop there.
Whatever systems you use should involve a two-factor authentication system, a virtual private network (for remote workers), secure file-sharing tools, and anti-malware software.
Updating your internet browsers, anti-malware software, and systems as often as possible is also a key component to protecting your data.
If this seems like a lot, don't worry. This next step will help.
Use Managed Data Protection Services
In today's world, no system is perfect. Hackers have breached some of the largest and seemingly secure systems in recent years.
However, we can still limit our risks, and there's no better way to do that than with managed data protection services.
Not only will you have access to state-of-the-art technology, but you will have cybersecurity experts monitoring your systems regularly for any potential issues.
Having dedicated cybersecurity experts working with your company will offer you access to critical advice, educational resources, and peace of mind.
Also, it's more affordable than you may think. Hiring an in-house IT team is not feasible for most small businesses, but outsourced data protection services come at a reasonable price!
Get Protected Today
Now that you know what a data protection plan can do for you, there's no time to waste. The sooner you invest in protection, the sooner you can have peace of mind. Remember, small and medium-sized businesses are the favorite targets of attackers.
Stay up to date with our latest cybersecurity advice and feel free to contact us with any questions.