Dec 09th, 2013

There are two good reasons why stories of enterprises suffering data breaches continue to proliferate in the news. The first is that these incidents can have serious consequences for all affected parties, making data breaches noteworthy to the public. Second, these breaches remain extremely frequent, and the sheer number of breaches ensures that there is always more to report upon.

Considering these circumstances, it is clear that firms in every industry should make data protection a high-level priority. Indeed, it is true that the importance of cybersecurity has become much more appreciated in recent years, as businesses in every industry have begun to deploy preventative tools, such as secure file transfer solutions. However, despite the progress made in this area, the fact remains that cybersecurity remains a problem for many organizations.

If you are a manager, owner or executive, you must ask yourself: Is my business doing everything possible to prevent a data breach?

An ounce of prevention
The incentives for implementing robust data protection policies are relatively obvious: a modest amount of effort and expense dedicated to prevention can mitigate the risk of a breach, which would ultimately prove exponentially more damaging and costly.

But while business leaders largely understand this concept, many continue to underestimate the need for robust protection, and consequently do not do everything in their power to protect their organizations' sensitive data. As a result, many firms have a degree of protection in place, but are not as well defended as they could be. This may save some time and money in the short run, but could prove devastating in the long term if lax policies and a lack of tools lead to data loss, theft or exposure.

Taking steps
This raises the question: What steps should businesses take to ensure that their information is as protected as it can possibly be?

The first and most obvious solution is to implement data protection tools. These include secure file transfer resources, firewalls, antivirus and antimalware programs and physical security. It is critical that business leaders only choose resources that are both advanced and reliable - out-of-date solutions will not stop determined hackers and other cyberthreats.

Furthermore, business leaders need to develop and enforce policies specifically designed to improve the quality of the organization's data protection capabilities. After all, even the most sophisticated, powerful data protection tools will prove useless if they are not adequately utilized by employees.

That is why business leaders must make security-related best practices mandatory, and actually take steps to see that these rules are followed by all relevant personnel. For example, employees should be directed to always use the provided secure file transfer solutions when sending and receiving corporate documents, and to ensure that all devices used to access the network have cybersecurity software installed and active. If business leaders emphasize the importance of these behaviors, employees will take note and behave in a much safer manner.