In a recent blog at the beginning of the month, we were talking about how much will a data breach costs you and why you need a data breach policy. These days this is a hot topic again as data breaches are on the rise. This time, a massive data breach happened to Facebook. News broke over the weekend that Cambridge Analytica, a research company, reportedly gained access to information about almost 50 million Facebook users. If this happened to Facebook, the chances of smaller companies to avoid one are very little. The reality is not if a data breach will happen to you, but when, and the industry you find yourself in doesn’t really matter.

As data breaches are a growing threat, taking all the measures to protect your business and your customers as well is essential. Businesses are more and more security focused and are looking for new ways to protect themselves. From employee training to having a restrictive data breach policy, no matter the size of your business, here are six simple steps you can follow to protect your company, your employees, and your clients from the effects of a major data breach.

  1. Educate your employees

According to numerous researches, employees are the top cause of data breaches, but this is not their fault entirely because, most of the time, they lack basic data security awareness and they don’t know how hackers work. Many times, data breaches happen by accident. Employee education is one of the first steps you should take to avoid a future data breach. You can bring in a cybersecurity specialist to train your employees to follow strict security procedures. Remember that hackers are very creative and data breaches can take many forms, so make sure your employees know and follow all the security procedures.

  1. Be aware of the information you have

One thing’s for sure – you can’t protect what you don’t know about. Before taking all the measures to protect your data, is essential to be aware of the type of data that you are protecting, where you are storing it, who has access to it and how do you use it.

  1. Secure sensitive data

Sensitive information is what hackers seek to exploit. Sensitive data includes personally identifiable information (PII) for employees and customers, financial data, business trade secrets and other confidential information. Always make sure that employees have permission to information necessary to their jobs.

  1. Never underestimate the threat

Small and medium businesses often believe that only larger companies are targeted, and they underestimate the threat. In reality, cyber threat is huge for small and medium businesses.

  1. Respond quickly when a mistake occurs

No matter how many prevention measures you take, you can still experience data breaches. Sometimes, small data breaches represent the best way to examine why this happened and how you can better protect your information. Respond as soon as a mistake occurs, contact your IT team, your legal counsel, and your cyber liability insurance agent.

  1. Control access to your business computers

Gone are the days when a username and password offered enough protection. Make sure you use the latest in software technology to safeguard data. Always keep your software and operating systems up to date. Safety protocols for all types of information are crucial in today’s business world.