A Data Security Breach is Now a When, Not an If
In the information economy, data has become the lifeblood of business.
(Yes, we realize the previous sentence is today's ultimate biz blog cliche, but hey, some things are cliche because they’re true.)
Accounting firms feel the impact of this transition with a degree of severity far greater than other industries. Risking the sensitive financial and personal data of your customers is not an option. Threats are everywhere, and their sophistication and prevalence grow with each passing day.
You want examples? There are almost too many to choose. In 2017 alone, Equifax, the NSA, and Uber all got hacked. We learned that every single Yahoo account, all three billion of them, had been compromised. WannaCry, the latest and greatest in ransomware, held business data hostage across the globe. The NotPetya virus broke out in Ukraine and quickly spread to major businesses like FedEx.
Data security breaches are becoming a question of when not if.
Luckily, threat protection measures are growing stronger in response. But you can’t afford to rest on your laurels—there are specific actions you need to take to lessen the chances of a breach and minimize the ill effects when one does occur.
You might want to lock up
Data security starts at the front door of your firm. That isn’t some sophisticated metaphor—we’re talking about the literal entrance to your business.
Be sure to regularly review the security protocols at your company. An alarm system is a must, and security cameras and sensors can improve the chances of recovery if a theft does occur.
Lock up all portable devices like phones and laptops at the end of the day and over weekends and holidays. Ensure that employees who take mobile devices out of the office are held accountable for their safe return.
From the edge to the cloud and back
Of course, today’s data networks extend far beyond the office. You’ll need a solution that truly “end-to-end”—one that protects data as it travels from devices both within the office and remotely, into the cloud, and back again.
As IT becomes more of a commodity, it’s beginning to make more sense to outsource as much encryption and security provisions as possible. Even for larger companies, it can be difficult for IT departments to stay ahead of an ever-evolving threat landscape.
Look into leasing data protection from a company like HPE or Cisco. They can provide perks like 24/7 support, on-site managers, and automated patches and updates. Running your IT through a third party can often be cheaper than attempting to maintain your own data center. And it will cut costs by decreasing the chances and impact of intrusions.
Passwords are passé
In the first half of 2017, lost or stolen login credentials accounted for 74% of all data breaches. Passwords are becoming far too easy to hack, and once intruders log into your system, it can be difficult to stop them from making away with the goods.
Thankfully, there’s a new method of login that’s beginning to catch on and is far more difficult to fool—multifactor authentication.
Multifactor authentication spans a variety of credential options, but the basis is simple: employees need more than just a password to get in. Some possibilities for secondary verification include fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, physical tokens, and location detection.
Besides improving security, moving beyond the password can also boost productivity. When users don’t need to remember complex, ever-changing passwords, they can log in quickly and from more places, allowing them to get to work faster while reducing IT service tickets.
Hackers aren’t waiting, so you can’t either
If hackers aren’t targeting your data right now, there’s a good chance they will be soon. So start taking steps to improve data security immediately. And remember to lock the door.