8 steps to reduce the risk of security breaches

25 Sep 8 steps to reduce the risk of security breaches

Our world is becoming more and more connected, moving into the digital space. As such, business – and consumers – must think fast about increasing security and protecting sensitive information. Research has shown that almost 18% of business breaches are due to accidental or unauthorised access to the premises and certain areas, highlighting the urgency to automate and tighten business security.

With those frightening statistics in mind, we are discussing the security trends to enforce to reduce the risk of security breaches to your company.

Security breaches

Identify your weakest areas

Before enhancing your business security, you need to know where the issues are. Conduct a test that identifies any potential weakness in entering your business and seeking access for restricted levels and patch those vulnerabilities. If the issues lies within human error – with 18% of physical security breaches caused by human error – an option for your company in the future is to automate those processes with biometric security.

Educate your employees

Human error is a very real threat to businesses today. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), four in five of the top causes of breaches are due to human or process errors. Just some of the issues include loss of paperwork or unencrypted device, such as traditional key cards, providing hackers with the permissions to enter the building and, therefore, sensitive information without consequence.

This is where staff security education comes into play. You must educate the employees as to the types of security breaches directly relating to human error, such as the mishandling of traditional key cards and loss of PIN codes etc. Doing so may just help to reduce the risk of security breaches to your company.

Enforce secure practices

There are various types of security breaches, but the one thing you can do to effectively reduce the risk is to enforce secure practices. For instance, sophisticated hackers do not need to enter and breach your organisation through a PIN code or traditional key card, but can do so via simply logging in with a vulnerable employee password.

You must teach your employees about the various security breaches and the very real consequences. If your company does rely on passwords, they must be updated regularly, using a variety of characters that cannot be easily replicated. Unfortunately, a large portion of hackers can breach your business through vulnerable passwords. A recent survey by Avast Software suggested that passwords are becoming increasingly vulnerable in our digital landscape, as over 47% of people surveyed have never changed their password to their emails since signing up for an account.

Put in place a secure practice that encourages users to change their passwords every 30 days and to use different passwords to the one previous. More often than not, employees choose passwords relating to birthdays or close family and friends. Therefore, it is your duty to highlight the security risks of doing so and ensure the passwords are strong enough to mitigate certain risks.

Employ biometrics

Biometric technology is experiencing rapid growth within the security industry. As mentioned above, the loss or theft of devices, such as traditional key cards, can leave your company vulnerable. Biometric verification helps to combat these risks with readers that identify the unique traits or behavioural characteristics of your employees. For instance, biometric fingerprint readers will allow individuals access to the building once they have matched the fingerprint to the template stored in the database.

Biometric security is a potential boon for a high-risk building, providing companies with the ability to restrict access and only allow users with the registered permissions into certain levels. Unfortunately, with key cards and passwords, you cannot be sure the correct individual is entering. Therefore, your business is at risk. Biometric security also minimises breaches through employee error, as criminals are not easily able to replicate the fingerprint templates.

Similarly, biometric verification can also prove invaluable for reliability, timekeeping and workforce management. For instance, biometric verification can reduce any cases of time theft and even allow directors/managers to oversee their workforce while not on the same premises.

You can read more on why your business can benefit from biometric verification here.

Create protocols

Protocols must be in place to ensure your company is prepared and ready to act. Security trends may be more advanced, but so are hackers. A report from Verizon states that, in over 60% of cases, are able to infiltrate the business within a matter of minutes. Speed is crucial for any security breaches. Those with protocols in place are those that are more effective in stopping the infiltration.

Plan out the steps for your protocol and inform all employees about their responsibilities in the case of a security breach, such as an unauthorised individual entering the building. Each employee and department must understand their responsibilities to inform and, possibly, isolate the issue.

You should also consider the risk of security breaches from previous employees. If you do have an individual who was granted particular permissions but no longer works at the premises, remove their privileges immediately. For instance, change the PIN code, update the key card system or remove them from the biometric database.

Multiple verifications

Multiple verifications are more effective in enhancing business security. For instance, biometric verification and technologies can be used in conjunction with key cards and passwords, maximising the security for your premises. Having a two-step verification also adds another layer of protection for business security, especially if you oversee a high-risk business storing critical data.

Conduct regular tests

It’s critical that you conduct regular tests on your business security. The only method for ensuring your company is completely secure is to regularly test.  Methods for attempted fraudulent access, hacking and general security breaches are constantly evolving, and your company must do too. You need to test to ensure all security protocols in place are effective, efficient and appropriate, security testing will also help to identify any potential weaknesses or gaps in protocols.

Ultimately, by preparing and creating contingency plans and countermeasures, you can reduce the risk of any types of security breaches.

Consider cybersecurity

While physical security is critical to the success of your business, it’s also important to consider your cybersecurity. We suggest seeking advice from companies within the industry and ensuring you have similar strict protocols in place. For instance, put strict permissions on individuals allowing particular files and encrypting sensitive information.

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