How Data Breaches Can Be Prevented With a Password Manager
No matter the size of your business, data breaches are a very real threat. However, there could be even more of a risk for managed services providers (MSPs) and small businesses as they make prime targets for cybercriminals hoping to exploit sensitive data. This is because MSPs usually have access to vast amounts of customer data, and small businesses are less likely to utilize enterprise-grade security systems.
MSPs cannot afford to fall victim to opportunistic cybercriminals, as breaches can not only spell out devastating costs for their customers but also a loss of business and reputation. Fortunately, there are several key ways to help protect your company and your customers from the risks of data breaches.
What is a data breach?
Data breaches happen when information security and data security are compromised, which results in sensitive information being exploited. This can happen in a number of ways, including data being exposed, transmitted, viewed, copied, stolen, or utilized by unauthorized individuals.
Data loss and data breaches can be caused by a number of factors, which might include:
- Social engineering and phishing
- Malware and ransomware
- Physical hard drive theft
- Slow vulnerability assessment and patching cadence
- Poor information security policies
- Poor security awareness among staff
This list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, countless factors might make a business vulnerable to data breaches. There are, however, a number of measures that MSPs and other businesses can implement to help reduce the likelihood of data breaches occurring. Before considering these measures, let’s first take a look at the dangers of data breaches to emphasize the importance of these preventative measures.
The dangers of data breaches
According to a report by Kaspersky, the average cost of a data breach to a small or midsize business is $86,500—but there’s more to the dangers of data breaches than financial loss. When a data breach occurs, many companies experience significant damage to their brand reputation. This is especially the case for MSPs, who are likely to leave customer data exposed in a breach. This can contribute to customer dissatisfaction—and in some cases, a customer may decide to take their business to another provider altogether.
Operational disruptions are another danger associated with data breaches. From the moment your data is compromised, through the entire investigation and recovery process, your business operations will most likely be impacted. The extent of this impact will depend on the severity of the breach. Unfortunately, roughly 60% of small and medium businesses close within six months of a cyberattack.
A data breach can also lead to legal ramifications for your business. If a customer’s data has been exploited because of poor security on your part, then it’s likely you will be held liable. The legal fees and payouts associated with a lawsuit can be crippling. All of these data breach dangers are interconnected and, unfortunately, one rarely exists without the others soon following—making it all the more important to take the necessary precautions.
How to prevent data breaches
The following practices and tools can help you protect your business and your customers from data breaches by addressing the key areas that might make a business vulnerable.
1. Configuration management
One common type of data breach is called a cloud leak. This usually happens when a cloud data storage service has been poorly configured. As a result, the data is crawled by search engines and exposed. To help prevent this from happening, use a configuration management tool. The right tool can help you ensure that cloud services are not exposing sensitive data.
2. Employee training
Phishing is a type of social engineering that attempts to acquire sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and login credentials, by masquerading as a legitimate email or website. Phishing scams often use a sense of urgency or social pressure to convince victims to reveal confidential data. The best way to prevent data breaches caused by phishing is to train employees to carefully examine their emails and text messages before taking any action. Implementing a password manager can also help prevent staff from falling victim to phishing scams because they will usually only input passwords on legitimate and trusted websites.
3. Anti-malware and email security software
Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to a computer or encrypts data until a ransom is paid. Ransomware will usually spread by exploiting vulnerabilities or through phishing scams. Spyware is another form of malware that infects your computer or network and steals data. This can be spread as a secondary infection from another cyberattack, through bundleware, or through phishing. To help prevent spyware and ransomware, consider installing antimalware and email security software as a line of defense. Backup software can also help protect you from the dangers of data breaches by ensuring that important files aren’t lost if the attack is successful.
4. Password management and software documentation tools
In many cases, poor passwords are the cause of data breaches. Despite the sophistication and prevalence of modern cyberattacks, many individuals still use simple passwords that are easily guessed by different tactics. Some people may not update their passwords regularly, or they may use the same password across several accounts—both of which can leave you vulnerable to threats. To help prevent password-related data breaches from occurring, consider adopting a password management tool. Strong password managers can offer granular access control and privileged access management to optimize security and help significantly reduce the chance of data breaches occurring.
Getting started with a password manager
Hopefully, this guide has demonstrated the importance of protecting your company and your customers against the ever-present dangers of data breaches. One of the most simple and effective ways of boosting your data security is to implement a password manager. SolarWinds® Passportal + Documentation Manager is a password management and software documentation tool that helps MSPs implement password management best practices and manage granular access control on behalf of their customers.
This tool can help you instantly reduce the risk of data breaches caused by poor passwords by ensuring that credentials adhere to set requirements for complexity and strength. To begin helping prevent data breaches today, request a demo of Passportal here.