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3 tips to prevent data breaches

Since May 25th, 2018, the new regulations concerning privacy have come into effect: the General Data Protection Regulation. If a data leak occurs and you have not taken adequate measures to secure personal data, you could face a fine of up to 20 million or 4% of your annual turnover. Under normal circumstances, your company should now be GDPR-compliant. But the protection of personal data can always be improved – and should be improved. In a society where more and more consumer data is processed, the importance of securing that data becomes greater as well. Any organization or company should always be trying to ensure the prevention of data breaches. In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to improve your data security even further.

Encryption and data breaches

One of the most important steps you can take is using encryption: by encrypting all of the data, hackers and other third parties will be unable to make use of it, should they acquire it. No one should be able to reach the contents. By encrypting all of your data and ensuring that it’s only transmitted through a secure Wi-Fi network, intranet and internet (consider HTTPS, you can significantly reduce the odds of a data leak occurring.

Strictly enforce your privacy policy

Often, the cybersecurity of many companies is handled quite well at the office. When data leaks occur, they are usually the result of a human error. That’s why it’s so important that every company strictly enforces their privacy policy, informs all employees about it and explains its importance. In 2018, you can no longer afford an employee clicking on hyperlinks in suspicious e-mails or using ‘password’ as password. Always ensure that your personnel are aware of the importance of cybersecurity and act accordingly. A couple of problems to keep in mind are, for example:

  • Employees that leave their laptop or computer behind unattended, without locking their screen or using a password for security;
  • No strong passwords, with a minimum of 12 characters, being used;
  • Employees that treat personal data carelessly (consider USB-sticks getting lost or the theft of laptops);
  • Too many people with authorization to access personal data;
  • Personal data that is exchanged without encryption (by e-mail, but also through services like Dropbox, for example);

To ensure potential security risks like this don’t happen, you could, for instance, organize workshops or courses, so that all employees are aware of the risks and don’t make any unnecessary mistakes.

Secure your employees’ internet connection outside of the office

Another risk that you should consider is someone gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data when your employees are outside of the office. The cause of this is usually the lack of adequate security of (public) Wi-Fi networks. What often happens, for example, is that an employee decides to check his/her company e-mail while on public Wi-Fi, resulting in the data being intercepted. As a company, there is little you can do about this. After all, you can only control the security of your own Wi-Fi network.

That’s why your best option is to have your employees make use of a Virtual Private Network, as standard practice. A VPN ensures that all user data is sent through a well-secured, encrypted tunnel. The data will have already been encrypted before it reaches the Wi-Fi network. Because of this, it becomes practically impossible for a hacker to gain access to the data that your employee might send out, even if the Wi-Fi network is not secure. If your company is in need of an effective VPN, that guarantees the safety of your data and is easy to use, then look no further than GOOSE VPN.

In this digital era, effective cybersecurity is an absolute ‘must’ for every company, especially if your company processes personal data. These tips can provide a solid foundation to protect your organization from data breaches.

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