Stopping a Data Breach Before It Happens

A data breach can cost your business substantial amounts of money while exposing your company’s and customers’ sensitive information to cybercriminals. According to a study conducted by IBM, companies take an average of 197 days to discover data breaches once they have occurred. This means that the financial information of your company and customers could be in the hands of hackers for months before the breach is discovered. Fortunately, you can take proactive measures to prevent data breaches from occurring and protect against cyber threats. This article will review why “stopping a data breach before it happens” is the best approach.


May 16, 2023

1. Complete Security Audits and Gap Analyses

Many different types of security vulnerabilities can be internal, including misconfiguration, not requiring multi-factor authentication, open ports, and more. Completing internal security audits can help to discover security threats so that they can be addressed. Gaps in your security should be assessed and promptly remediated.

Security audits consider the nature of your company and how it handles cybersecurity. Some of the types of things that providers might review during a security audit include the following: 

  • Whether your company has thorough information security policies in place
  • Any process your company has established to manage security, escalate issues, and address cyber attacks and breaches
  • How your company tracks and documents threats
  • Whether your business has set up log monitoring
  • Whether your business has an authentication and password policy
  • Whether your business uses encryption at all levels
  • Whether your business has a disaster recovery plan
  • Any protocols your company uses to test applications for security vulnerabilities
  • How your company backs up media and files, and who can access them
  • Whether you have a process in place for reviewing audit logs


2. Manage Internal Security and Data Leak Vulnerabilities

Having strong security measures in place to manage your company’s internal security and identify and address vulnerabilities is important for protecting against potential cyber attacks and data breaches. You should have all of the following in place to protect against security breaches:

  • Strong firewalls
  • Good antivirus software
  • Endpoint detection and response
  • Robust authentication processes for all devices, including mobile devices

Data breach mitigation should include a component for addressing data leaks since they can accelerate the potential for data breaches. If your business has a data leak, your company’s internal credentials could be exposed, allowing cybercriminals to get around the security controls you have in place. To detect data leaks, you need to consider false positives and data leaks from third-party vendors.

False Positives

Cybercriminals often use false announcements of a company’s data leak as a common tactic to divert its security investigations by deploying ransomware. If you detect a data leak, your company should review it manually through your IT team or an external provider of managed IT services.

Data Leaks Caused by Third Parties

Third parties are a common source of data breaches when they are compromised. For example, if a third-party vendor has a data leak, it can provide a means for a bad actor to breach the vendor and your company’s data. Automated scanning can help to track data leaks so they can be successfully managed and closed.


3. Manage Third-Party Vendor Risks

To keep your system secure and prevent potential data breaches, it’s important to have suitable measures in place to manage risks from third-party vendors. Vendor risk management (VRM) can identify the exposures your business faces while working with a vendor at every stage of the relationship as follows:

  • Evaluating prospective vendors by conducting a risk assessment and ensuring they have an appropriately aligned security posture
  • Identifying gaps in regulatory compliance to maintain it and avoid penalties
  • Engaging in continuous third-party attack monitoring to detect emerging risks
  • Terminating vendor access when the relationship ends

4. Establish a Strong Security Policy and Procedures

You must have comprehensive security policies and processes in place to ensure your company meets or exceeds data security standards. You should regularly review your IT security policies and make updates when needed. Having good policies and processes in place communicates your expectations for data security and lets your employees know they should take security as seriously as you do.

For certain types of sensitive data, you should institute permissions for access. For example, different users might have various levels of access and permissions for viewing specific data. This can help you proactively enforce your business’s data procedures.

5. Conduct Cyber Awareness Training

One of the best ways to establish data breach prevention at your company is to conduct regular cyber training with your employees. Your employees should understand how to identify potential attempts at social engineering, possible malware, phishing emails, and other similar cyber threats.

You should train your employees to create strong passwords and to change them regularly. They should also know how to report any suspicious activity they might encounter so that your company can address it.

Consider including the following topics in your security training for your employees:

  • How privileges and end-user access are controlled
  • Why employees should use unique passwords on each device and computer used for their jobs
  • The system your company has in place to document security measures when employees and vendors leave, including removing password authentication, access to the company’s network by laptop or mobile device, return of key cards, etc.
  • The reporting procedure for employees when they come across suspicious activity, data leaks, or breaches
  • How data should be handled, retrieved, sent, and disposed of
  • Modern types of malware, social engineering attacks, phishing attacks, and other types of ransomware to watch for

The Meriplex Team of Cybersecurity Experts Can Protect Your Business

While taking steps to prevent data breaches and data loss might seem overwhelming, it’s not as difficult as you might initially think. By taking a layered approach to implementing strong security measures, you can mitigate the potential threats your company might otherwise face. To learn more about Meriplex and data breach prevention, contact us today.