A data leak can have major consequences for both your business and the individuals affected. If sensitive information gets into the wrong hands, criminals can use it for illegal and damaging purposes. Examples include fraud, identity theft, and corporate espionage.
This can have a significant impact on the financial wellbeing of your company with the reputational damage it inflicts. Yet, cybercriminals use sophisticated infiltration methods to steal data in this age of rapid technological advancement. To combat this, you must adapt your safeguarding measures accordingly.
A government survey published in March 2021 found that 39% of businesses reported a security breach or cyber attack in the preceding 12-month period. This represents a worryingly high proportion. So, what can you do to protect your data? If a leak does occur, how do you restrict the damage?
What are some examples of sensitive data?
The Information Commissioner’s Office defines personal data as “information related to an identified or identifiable individual”. Such identifiers include names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, banking details, and more.
Ways to protect your data and limit the damage of a leak
Secure your IT systems
Should an attack compromise your data, it could be a wise move to temporarily remove all computers from the company’s shared network. This may be how the cybercriminals gained access to your system. Taking this step will also limit any further leaks while you address the issue.
Regular staff training
Taking preventative measures is also a must. Instead of reacting to problems as and when they arise, instil the proper knowledge and protocols in your workforce. Train your employees on data protection guidelines for storing and processing information. Educate your people on identifying potential issues, such as email phishing scams. By doing so, you proactively reduce the risk of a breach.
Use a VPN
You can protect your privacy by using a virtual private network (VPN). When your employees connect, it hides their IP address via encryption to safeguard their identity online. Do your research into the best VPN servers in the UK before you make your choice.
Communicate with those affected
If there is a breach, make sure you get in touch immediately with anyone impacted by the attack. This could be customers, employees, or both. It’s imperative that they’re made aware of the issue as soon as possible so they can take the appropriate action and limit any potential damage.