2018 is not yet halfway over, but already more than 10 major data breaches have occurred, affecting companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Panera Bread, FedEx, CarePlus and more. Data breaches are a serious concern in the modern era and have become more prevalent in recent years; in 2017 there were more than 1,000 data breaches that compromised the records of 174 million individuals. Based on the data breaches that have already occurred in 2018, this trend is unlikely to be diminished. Here, the data forensic experts at Atlantic Data Forensics provide best practices for companies to help mitigate the risk of a data breach event.

Limit Employee Access to Company Data

Data breaches become more likely as more employees are granted access to data, and so one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent data breaches is to limit the number of employees who regularly view and use it. For employees who do require access to data, ensure they are only provided access to the data that is vital to perform their duties—this also makes it much easier to retrieve this data if they are terminated or depart the company.

Conduct User Training for All Employees

While it is absolutely vital that your business’s IT staff to be properly trained in data management, it is no less important for the rest of your staff to be properly trained in identification of threats to your business’s data. Phishing and ransomware scams are two of the most common ways that hackers access company data, so ensure your staff has been trained to identify such instances and report them to the proper staff members.

Develop a Robust Password Policy

Create a password policy—enshrined in the company handbook—that ensures passwords are long, complex and changed regularly. Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters, with a combination of letters (both upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols. Encourage employees to choose a password that does not contain their name, date of birth and commonly used words or phrases. Have employees change their passwords on a regular basis—90 days is often considered standard—and employ two-factor authentication, which makes it more challenging for hackers to access data, even if they have acquired an employee’s username and password.

Use the Cloud to Store Data

Most small and mid-sized businesses do not have the capital to invest in state-of-the-art data security systems, but by employing the cloud for data storage, they are able to access the offsite and highly secured systems of most cloud providers. Cloud services are also encrypted and employ a team of experts to monitor any suspicious behavior, making it a wonderful solution for businesses with extensive amounts of data.

Retain Data Forensic Experts to Provide Data Management Education and Data Breach Remediation Services

While prevention is always desirable, data breach events are sometimes unavoidable—and what your business chooses to do following a breach can make or break the reputation of your company. Atlantic Data Forensics’ qualified team of data forensic experts have the skills and experience necessary to identify and manage a data breach, ensuring the damage is mitigated, minimized and contained. Our expert team is also available to provide training and additional resources to help businesses avoid a data breach event from the start. To learn more about how Atlantic Data Forensics can help businesses take control of their data security, contact us today.