Of the things people in the IT industry will remember about 2014, data breaches will definitely be one of them. According to a report released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the number of U.S. data breaches hit a record high of 783 in 2014, and there may be more data breaches out there that have simply escaped our radar. Data breaches compromise personal confidentiality and expose consumers and civilians like you and me to fraudulence, and the battle for computer security is far from over. E-commerce, small businesses, corporations and the general public can learn from their mistakes and be on better guard in 2015.
No One is Safe, Including You
Consumers rarely thought about credit card security until national retailer Target's shocking data breach. The fact that hackers can get into one of the files of one of the largest chain of stores in the country and steal account information of over 40 million people is mind-blowing. Although this surprise attack on Target and other businesses like Dairy Queen, Goodwill and Home Depot in 2014 may make you think twice before swiping your credit card again, the unprecedented waves of data breaches have helped businesses and consumers to better understand the vulnerability and imminence of cyber security.
When it comes to online security, no one is safe. Perhaps one of the greatest lesson we can learn from 2014's data breaches is proactive identity safeguarding. This means creating passwords with a combinations of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid integrating personal information such as zip codes, SSN, birthdays and phone numbers into your password. Choose random words so the password you create is unique and difficult to guess.
Consistent Security System Upgrade
While most data breach cases involve weak passwords or using the same password for almost everything online, companies that fail to update their software are often targeted by hackers for their apparent vulnerabilities. According to VB News, updating or upgrading your security technology adds an extra layer of protection between you and the hacker. For example, those who are troubled by recent credit card data breaches might want to upgrade their payment terminals to accept EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa) chip cards. Sources report that "the new credit cards eliminate the potential for skimming card data off a reader or hacking a POS for card data, because the retailer receives a randomized token in place of the actual credit card data."
Understand Security Best Practices, Policies and Procedures
Finally, because data breaches take place for various reasons, companies must continually equip employees with the best security practices, policies and procedures. Training that focuses on how to handle sensitive information, identify potential fraudulent activities and so forth are extremely helpful for promoting awareness and sound security practices in the workplace.
As you can see, the battle for a more secured cyberspace involves multi-level security upgrade and management. Small businesses who are interested in fending off potential data breaches in 2015 should start investing in security systems while keeping a sharp eye out for spammy links, messages, suspicious ads and solicitations. Learn from the data breaches in 2014 to keep you and your customers' information safe. Contact us at EnvisionIT Solutions to get professional advice on safeguarding your business against hackers and other malicious attacks.
Written By Kevin Gray
Hello! I am the Sales Manager and one of the Senior IT Consultants @ EnvisionIT Solutions. I help our clients envision great technology solutions that help their businesses grow. Let me know if you have any questions. I am an avid outdoorsman who loves fly fishing and camping. I also love sports – soccer, basketball, football….