business and data security concept Illustration by mohamed_hassan CC BY-SA 3.0 Shutterstock
With the use of technology on the rise, personal data is becoming much easier to steal. An effective solution for data protection is a necessity now more than ever before. Anytime you handle the personal data of clients comes with a responsibility to keep it safe. In the rest of this article, we’ll explain why data protection is so important and a great way to actualize it.
Data Theft is Rampant
Today data theft is one of the most complex threats within business. In 2018 alone, more than 440 million people had their private consumer records stolen. By comparison, there were just under 200 million consumer records stolen in 2017. If you weren’t currently worried about data theft, 240 million records stolen in a single year indicates a very real threat. And if that isn’t enough for you, 4 billion consumer records have been exposed in just the first half of 2019.
Now you can certainly see how serious of an issue personal data protection is. But why is personal data being stolen at an unprecedented rate? The answer is very simple and it comes down to two things: technology and the internet.
The internet has provided the world with the ability to communicate and interact with anyone else who also has access to the internet, regardless of where they are located. With advances made in technology, humans are now connected to the internet more-than-ever, placing them in perfect position for data theft.
Protecting Personal Data Comes First
The nature of the internet and the rise of technology are both seemingly inevitable and unchangeable at this point. However, personal data protection goes beyond accepting that data theft is just going to happen. The reason why billions of consumer records have already been exposed this year is because many large businesses just don’t have strong enough defense mechanisms for personal data protection.
Cyber threats are still a relatively new concept to many businesses, so there hasn’t previously been a glaring need for cybersecurity. But now everything is very different and people will only continue to gain access to the internet. Many businesses require a wide variety of your personal data that isn’t directly relevant to you purchasing a product or service.
Instead, it is often used to help formulate marketing decisions. This by itself isn’t malicious, but the problem occurs when someone other than the business can access this information. Regardless of what industry you work in, if you handle client’s personal data, you absolutely do have a priority to protect it to the best of your abilities.
Creating Multiple Layers of Defense
When it comes to figuring out how to implement personal data protection, you can actually use a defense strategy employed by the U.S. military. This strategy involves creating layers of data protection in your business rather than front-loading it all. Imagine trying to protect a castle from attackers. Do you think it is a smarter defense strategy to have one, enormous and strong gate as defense, or several smaller gates deployed at unavoidable choke points?
It is definitely more effective to have more than one layer of defense. The biggest reason for this is because you do not have any backup protection if your only line of defense fails. Of all the billions of stolen consumer records, many could likely have been prevented if there were multiple defense mechanisms used for personal data protection.
When it comes to cybersecurity, there’s a big difference between protecting your life and protecting personal data, especially when everything is virtual. You cannot see cyber threats coming, so you must be proactive about your approach to defense. If you’re interested in layering your personal data protection, you can employ these mechanisms as layers:
- Network Security
- Inner Security
- Virus Detection
- Data Verification
- Network Security
- Behavior Analysis
Identifying a Data Breach
Actually determining whether or not you have a threat to your business’s personal data can be difficult when things are not tangible. Physical theft, like robbing a bank, is much easier to detect because you can see it. It can be difficult to identify a hacker attempting to steal your personal data, but the use of layered protection can absolutely spot them out.
Beyond layering your protection, you should try and figure out what personal data matters most. Or rather, what personal data is most valuable to a thief. The glaring item here is social security numbers, but banking information, credit card numbers, and even seemingly innocuous things like your date of birth, address, and phone number can all be used against you. These will all be most valuable to a data thief, which means you need to focus on protecting that data first.
In the event that you do experience a data breach, it is important that you are diligent about taking action. You must inform your customers and the authorities. You also need to make it a priority to prevent any additional data theft and figure out how the breach happened. Identity theft will absolutely ruin someone’s life even if it doesn’t physically hurt them. Anytime you store a client’s personal data, you must protect it at all costs.
Proactive Solutions to Complex Threats
Do you feel like your business is adequately prepared for the threat of data theft? Billions of people have had their personal data stolen in the last few years and that number is only rising. Without several layers of protection, you are only presenting one defense mechanism for hackers to bypass. Personal data protection is all about being proactive and figuring out what personal data is most important and devoting your resources to it.
You can try to implement your own methods of personal data protection, or you can have an adept accountant create a custom solution for you! The Felde CPA Group understands that security comes first when it comes to personal data. This allows your clients to trust you and to foster a healthy business relationship. If you’re interested in receiving professional support with data protection, reach out to us today!