As the number of people using the internet is growing, cyber experts stress the importance of personal responsibility for individuals keeping themselves protected online. Internet security professionals ask corporations and individuals to consider better practices for protecting sensitive data and securing internet-connected devices.
Responsibility in cybersecurity implies people being more careful at their workplace, companies handling customer and employee data in a way that ensures the highest levels of security, and authorities developing frameworks that support everyone in maintaining their privacy online.
Now that all businesses have websites clients can use to browse for information and purchase services; it’s essential to invest more in data protection. Compliance regulations and rules require firms to create security strategies that protect data privacy and data assets.
It’s no surprise that cybercriminals are constantly developing tools to circumvent security and steal sensitive data. As internet activity registered an increase in the last months, the danger of cyberattacks also grew because many organizations and individuals weren’t ready for the transition, and they don’t have the needed knowledge and tools to protect themselves. This makes them easy targets for hackers that are looking for data breach opportunities. But for a company, a data breach can translate into a problem of astronomical proportions because it negatively impacts brand reputation, shatters customer retention, and has direct effects on the stock price.
Why is it important to protect sensitive data?
The internet is a dangerous place
As internet security measures improve, so do threat actors that develop new tactics daily. Long gone are the times when cybercriminals limited their activities to phishing from a list of personal email addresses. They no longer rely on employees using simple passwords or making mistakes like opening an email attachment or link.
They adapted their tactics and now target organizations with vulnerabilities in their network securities because they win more from stealing data from companies than tricking an individual. They’re still using phishing strategies, but they updated them to spook CEOs, banks, and large retailers.
Because threats evolved, organizations are at a higher risk of dealing with cyberattacks.
Everyone can be a target
Most people and small businesses lack proper security measures to guard their online activity. Even if some hackers are after big brands, not all of them target the same category. Everyone is a potential target. Small retailers, for example, process a lot of information from their clients, but they lack the means to guard the data from hackers. Cybercriminals are after all kinds of information they can sell (addresses, phone numbers, emails, card information). Protecting data can make a difference in establishing a reputation and maintaining a successful business.
Organizations face money loss
Data breaches cost a lot of money. The average data breach costs over $8 million, and the amount is increasing annually. This sum includes fines, legal fees, auditing services, repaying clients, and other financial losses associated with the problem. Most small companies don’t afford the cost of a data breach because it would have devastating effects on their financial status.
Loss of sensitive data causes reputational damage
Checking the internet for the list of companies that experienced data breaches in the last years reveals that all have experienced reputational damage. If you type the name of a brand that deals with this kind of situation into the Google search engine, the first suggestions are pieces of information about the breach and its effects. Even years after the breach, the victims are still suffering the negative consequences of their mistakes. It’s almost impossible to repair the reputation damaged by a data breach.
What can individuals and organizations do to protect sensitive information?
Locate sensitive data
Organizations must identify the places where they process, store, and use data to be able to create effective data security strategies. The first necessary step in the process is to know the possible targets cybercriminals can aim, and develop a plan that minimizes the risk of someone being able to access them.
Reduce the amount of data
More and more companies reduce the amount of sensitive data they process and store to limit the damage they could experience in a data breach situation. Data minimization strategies have the goal to reduce the time, effort, and costs associated with protecting information.
Take action to increase privacy
75% of Americans are concerned about their privacy, but most don’t take any measures to prevent cyber breaches. During the last months, Internet usage spiked, and more Internet users have become aware of what happens with their sensitive data when it reaches an online page. 75% of Americans are very concerned about their privacy, and 62% of them revealed that in 2020 they became more aware of how online entities use their sensitive data because they noticed ad targeting based on their browsing history, read information about how data is used online and detected online ads targeting their location. However, 17% of them admitted they take no action to protect their data. In the context explained above, it’s crucial for people to take action and increase their online privacy because they’re vulnerable in face of a cyberattack.
How can you boost privacy?
When you’re looking for a way to boost privacy using a double VPN or Onion over VPN server may do the trick. A double VPN sends Internet data through two servers while the Onion over VPN solution sends the traffic through one of the VPN’s servers and then through the Onion network, to encrypt the data that lands on the internet. Normally you can access the Onion network only if you browse the Internet through the Tor browser, but some VPN providers have technology that allows you to encrypt the data with the help of the Onion server even when you don’t use the Tor browser.
Onion over VPN is a top-notch technology that provides better protection than a simple VPN. Organizations and individuals that want to protect sensitive data should use Onion over VPN because it improves security. After all, the technology uses three nodes to limit the information they carry and prevent hackers from accessing large amounts of data if they manage to breach the security wall.
Onion over VPN services is crafted specially to protect sensitive information sent over internal and external networks. Individuals and organizations with access to sensitive data should consider using this solution to create a tunnel through which the data travels safely.
Monitor control effectiveness
Cybercriminals are always developing new methodologies and tools to attack organizations, and often companies find out that their measures aren’t enough to protect their sensitive data. Continuously keeping an eye on the security ecosystem and controlling the standards can prevent cyber attacks and prevent threats. Companies need to evaluate their systems periodically and discuss with internet security specialists to determine if they use the right methods to prevent malicious actors from gaining access to their data. The information stored in the cloud should be safe from threats, but organizations must purchase cloud services from reliable providers.
Monitoring the possible risks is an essential step in securing sensitive data because to protect the information, businesses should track down their vulnerabilities and remediate them as soon as possible. It may sound easy, but research suggests that most companies ignore this step and ignore cybersecurity alerts. The truth is that this task requires time and money because they need to prioritize the risks to ensure they fix the most sensitive ones first.
With appropriate protection, organizations can secure their sensitive data, lower compliance costs, and reduce the risk of data breaches.