High-profile data breaches have caused public relations nightmares for corporations and embarrassment for public figures. Data breaches can also result in a catastrophic financial loss. Although hackers and snoops pose a substantial threat, you need to know that data breaches are also commonly caused by human and process errors. Protect yourself and your business by learning about the following four top causes of data breaches

Poor Physical Control

When employees fail to physically secure their workstations, laptops and mobile devices, they leave your entire network vulnerable. If someone finds a smartphone, for example, and can gain access to it, many of the apps contained thereon already have been logged in and, therefore, have access to your network and data. Even at the office, leaving servers and workstations in unrestricted areas invite unauthorized access by visitors and employees.

Weak Passwords

According to a Verizon report, 63 percent of data breaches occur because of weak, default, or stolen passwords. To enhance productivity, you often need to provide your users easy access to data outside the network. This often involves easy-to-remember passwords and other simplified security requirements. However, what makes work simple and productive for you and your team also makes life easy for hackers. You and your team must use strong passwords and never use the same password on more than one system.

Lax Data Controls

Most operating systems and applications give you the ability to set user-level access privileges. These features serve to ensure that employees and other stakeholders can only access the data and applications needed for their work. However, managing permissions can become a headache, when special circumstances arise. In response, many business owners and managers leave their systems wide open, inviting misuse and abuse.

Operator Error

Employees who check their email can click on links in response to phishing emails that may seem legitimate, but give away sensitive details such as passwords, customer data, and banking information. In addition to having robust internet security applications running on every network endpoint, training and acceptable use policies can help minimize this type of threat. Still, phishing attacks continue to become more personalized and deceptive, requiring constant vigilance.

In summary, data breaches cost businesses a lot in terms of financial loss, negative publicity, and damaged reputations. Although direct attacks present a threat, you can dramatically reduce threats to your data by developing sensible procedures, policies, and training programs. By making the job of hackers more difficult, you can dramatically improve the security and survivability of your business.

One other thing to think about are data entry errors.¬†Manual entry of data is no joke, especially when it comes to a growing business. What was once a manageable amount of data quickly becomes an entire job of its own, and not one that anyone really wants to do. This is reflected by the sloppy standards for data entry, quality assurance of that data entry, and data retrieval. With so much data being transferred from database to database, it’s no wonder that data breaches happen. This can all be smoothed over with data integration platforms and automated error correction systems. Automated data entry and transfers also save you enormous amounts of time and resources that you can direct towards more pressing concerns.

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