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Unsecured enterprise networks that handle sensitive information are juicy targets for hackers. Organizations in every field try to keep their data and customers’ data safe, but many of them are still at risk of attack in the ever-changing cyber world.

Being targeted by cybercriminals is costly. According to the IBM report “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022”, the average data breach cost in 2022 was USD 4.35 million. This figure is a 2.6% increase from 2021, when the average breach cost USD 4.24 million. The average cost has risen 12.7% since the 2020 report from USD 3.86 million. 

Preventative cybersecurity can no longer be ignored in today’s digital universe. A study from the Ponemon Institute shows that 70% of security professionals think that stopping cyberattacks effectively improves their security. Still only 24% are working on improving their ability to prevent attacks. Instead, the majority focus on detection and containment. 

Robust security measures are the best way for a company to protect its attack surface and prevent costly incidents. At VirnetX, we know a thing or two about cybersecurity. We prevent cyberattacks with our Matrix network application security architecture and War Room video conferencing platform. Through the lens of our expertise, we gathered the following tips to help enterprises ensure their security posture is strong.

Related: Read how to Prevent Zoom Privacy Risks

1. Perform a risk assessment.

Before protecting your company’s and customers’ information, you must first understand the types of sensitive data you work with and how that data is stored and processed. Once you know your most valuable assets, you can look at cybersecurity risks and fill any gaps in your data protection.

2. Establish a data protection officer.

Designate one or more employees to be in charge of monitoring data security measures in your organization. Your data protection measures will be more effective if you have a data protection officer or team that looks for threats before they happen. This will help you handle security incidents quickly.

3. Encrypt your data.

In 2019, a phishing email campaign hit several email accounts used by Pacific Specialty Insurance Company employees. After noticing strange activity in employee email accounts, Pacific Specialty discovered the attack. A forensic investigation showed that some employee accounts had been accessed without permission. Because of this incident, Pacific Specialty customers’ names, social security numbers, financial information, health insurance information, and driver’s license numbers were stolen.

To prevent phishing attacks on your organization, ensure that critical data can’t be read by people who might try to misuse it while the information is at rest or in transit. Use encryption to protect customer information in the event of a data breach. This measure can also save millions of dollars in payments to affected customers.

4. Ensure data access is secure.

The IBM report “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022” notes that 79% of critical infrastructure organizations in the United States don’t deploy a zero trust architecture.

Implementing a zero trust or least privilege policy can restrict access to your critical assets. You can use these policies to control who has access to your customers’ information and what actions they can take. Adding multi-factor authentication can secure access to your IT infrastructure. When dealing with passwords, it is best to use password management software.

Click here to talk to a Zero Trust expert today.

5. Keep track of user activity.

Monitoring employee activity is a critical part of cybersecurity because many threats come from within. With a dedicated IT solution, you can keep track of your employees’ work and get audio and video logs of security events. Modern IT solutions with AI-based analytics can let you know right away if an employee does something unusual and help you stop a data breach before it happens.

6. Lower third-party risks.

One of the biggest data breaches in history happened to Target Corporation in 2013. During the Target hack, cyber thieves stole 70 million customer records and 40 million credit and debit card records.

Even though the attack was aimed at Target, it didn’t go through their systems directly. Instead, a third-party vendor was the source of the problem. Third parties are often hacked because their security usually isn’t as strong as the large corporations they partner with. 

When you set up protocols for data protection, you can keep track of who has access to sensitive data and why, including third parties. IBM says that 19% of security breaches in 2022 were caused by a breach of a business partner’s system.

7. Review privileged employees.

Cyber attackers frequently target employees who have privileged access to your IT infrastructure. Manage privileged access with automated systems that keep track of employees’ actions and prevent them from abusing their privileges. You can stop people from misusing their credentials by issuing one-time passwords for shared accounts.

8. Be ready to respond quickly to an incident.

To be prepared in case something goes wrong, you need to make an incident response plan to help lessen the effects of a data breach. An incident response plan can be created as part of your cybersecurity policy or as a separate document. Using this plan, cybersecurity officers and other employees will know what actions to take for each type of security incident, who to notify, and when. 

Data breaches can damage a company’s reputation, disrupt employees, erode trust, and negatively impact the financial bottom line. IBM reports that 60% of organizations’ breaches led to increased prices passed on to customers. Following these best practices for data protection will make your company safer and build trust and loyalty among your customers. 

If you’re looking to enhance your cybersecurity, VirnetX can help. Our Matrix and War Room cybersecurity technologies protect businesses from cyber threats that already exist and those that are yet to come.

Matrix enforces access policy controls and enables real-time network management to protect self-hosted cloud or on-premise applications from threats. The platform safeguards applications and contemporary remote workforces from sophisticated hackers and mitigates threats by enabling corporate applications to be invisible from unauthorized users.

War Room is an encrypted construct only visible to authorized users and combats threats and hackers from invading video meetings. Built with a Zero Trust philosophy and backed by VirnetXOne – VirnetX’s proprietary Gabriel technology.

Read our whitepaper to learn how to Secure Your Remote Workforce

About VirnetX

VirnetX Holding Corporation is an Internet security software and technology company with patented technology for secure communications, including 4G LTE and 5G security. VirnetX’s software and technology solutions, including its secure domain name registry and Gabriel Connection Technology™, are designed to facilitate secure communications and to create a secure environment for real-time communication applications such as instant messaging, VoIP, smartphones, e-readers, and video conferencing. The Company’s patent portfolio includes over 200 U.S. and foreign-granted patents, validations, and pending applications. For more information, please visit