Data breaches are a serious concern for companies all over the world. They are defined as instances in which protected or sensitive data has potentially been used, viewed, or stolen by a person who has not been given the authority to do so. They can involve may types of data, including health, identity, or financial information that can then be leveraged to the benefit of an outside party.

Good digital security starts in the workplace with employees creating secure passwords and not inadvertently allowing their user identity or station to be compromised. However, for most businesses far more is needed to ensure data is not compromised.

There are several ways in which data can be compromised. The most common include theft and loss, viruses and malware, and hacking. While there are certainly other ways in which data may be accessed, these represent the most common threats. For these types of threats businesses often need to rely on experts in the field, such as Califorensics, to mitigate risk.

Theft and Loss

The physical theft or loss of a computer, phone, tablet, or USB storage device poses one of the most significant risks to digital security imaginable. In part, because it is so difficult to protect data from human lapses in judgment and accidents.

In the event a physical device is obtained by someone who has the inattention to leverage it to access data to which they have no legal right, the last line of defense is the encryption technology installed on the device and the strength of the password required to access it.

Many devices require biometric authorization which is very secure. However, most of these types of devices have a backup alpha numeric passcode which is often not strong enough to prevent outside access.

To prevent someone from physically accessing the data on a device it is important to have several passcode requirements in place. One to turn on the device and another to access specific types of programs. Further passcodes can be put in place to protect individual files.

Many people fail to do this because it is a daily inconvenience to enter numerous passcodes to access a single location. However, if there is any possibility that the device being used could be accessed by someone else it is an important step to take.

Viruses and malware

Most people are familiar with the terms malware and computer viruses. While there are some technical differences both are essentially installed on a system in the same way.

Users are not careful with the content they are accessing and businesses do not have adequate detection methods to ensure these malicious programs are caught before damage is done.

The two best ways to prevent infection is to teach all users basic internet safety and install the most recent version of the security software that is being used.

It is important for those in the field of cyber security to realize that the average user is completely unaware of best practices and to make a concentrated effort to make training intuitive and easy to understand.

Hacking

A good digital security company will routinely test the cyber defenses that are in place to ensure they are adequate to deflect hacking attempts from potential thieves. While this is certainly not a practice that will prevent all hacking attempts, it does greatly diminish the likelihood that someone could easily access the data.

It is also important to ensure all software patches are installed as they come out. These are notorious for being used as gateways to access information and are often only implemented as a result of being used in such a way.

Some of the most infamous data breaches in history have had potentially catastrophic consequences. They have included government institutions like the United States military as well as private corporations such as Evernote, Living Social, Sony, Apple, and LinkedIn.

It is essential that all online businesses take the security of their data seriously as the risk associated with digital breaches is expected to grow in the coming years as more information is kept in digital form and hacking capabilities become more sophisticated.