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5 Data Breach Prevention Tips

Topics: Cyber Liability

The risk for a data breach at an organization of any size has become increasingly higher over the past few years. 2018 was the second-most active year for data breaches, with over 6,500 reported breaches, a decline of 3.2% from 2017's 6,728 breaches reported. In the first six months of 2019, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records, and the number of breaches increased 54% compared to the same time period in 2018. 

Companies have grown more aware of the various types of data breaches and the impact they can have on their brand, reputation and customer loyalty, not to mention the costs involved to properly notify all parties of the breach.

How to Prevent Data Breaches


Agents can help their clients prevent a data breach at their organizations by sharing the following tips:

Data Breach Prevention Tip #1: Set Security Protocols on Company Premises

Security protocols should include the cybersecurity policies and procedures needed to help keep sensitive company information safe. These protocols are one of the best ways to help prevent data theft by ensuring unauthorized personnel do not have access to data, and also that only authorized employees are allowed to view sensitive information. Businesses should have a clear understanding of the data that could become compromised in order to mitigate the risk of a cybersecurity attack.

Data Breach Prevention Tip #2: Understand How to Classify Data

Classifying data within an organization helps businesses understand what level of protection it requires. All data can pose risk to a business. Use the "5 Ws" questions - what, who, where, when and why - used by journalism professionals or police investigators to fully understand the complete story of the type of data that needs safeguarding. 

Data Breach Prevention Tip #3: Keep Data Safeguarded

Many data breaches are a result of employee error, so make sure all employees are well-trained on how to keep sensitive information protected. Employees should only have access to the information vital to their particular role within the company. Additionally, consider records retentions programs that require employees to purge files both on their computers and any hard copies they keep (according to the program), destroying the information in the proper manner. This means using special software designed to wipe the hard drive or regularly shredding paper files.

Data Breach Prevention Tip #4: Implement Password Protection

One of the best things a small business can do to stay protected from a data breach is to utilize strong passwords for every site accessed on a daily basis. Tips for creating strong passwords include creating unique passwords for different accounts and using a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Additionally, passwords should never be shared amongst employees or kept written down where others can see them.

Data Breach Prevention Tip #5: Update Security Software Regularly

Companies should utilize firewalls, anti-virus software and anti-spyware programs to help ensure sensitive data cannot be easily accessed by hackers. However, these security programs also require regular updates to keep them free from vulnerabilities, so make sure to check any software vendors’ websites to learn about upcoming security patches and other updates.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: The Resources to Stay Safe and Secure Online

As an official National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) champion, AmTrust recognizes our commitment to cybersecurity, online safety and privacy. NCSAM kicks off its 16th year this October with the theme: “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” The focus is on taking proactive steps to safeguard key areas that include individual privacy, consumer devices and e-commerce security.

Cyberattacks continue to become more common, with big names like Citrix and Marriott Starwood succumbing to data breaches as recently as 2019. AmTrust is dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure internet for our insureds, our appointed agents and our employees.

Ensure Your Clients Are Covered with Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance policies from AmTrust can help protect small businesses from some of the costs associated with responding to a variety of cybersecurity attacks. Your clients will feel confident knowing they have coverage for losses incurred following a data breach. For more information, please contact us today. 

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.

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