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10 Ways To Prevent A Security Breach In The Workplace

Among all the challenges businesses are facing today, cybersecurity is perhaps the most daunting. Many organizations across all industries don’t have the skills, technology, or staff to stand up against advanced attacks and have little knowledge about their attack space or what to do in case of a security breach. 

Much like Oregon Clinic’s 2018 data security incident , many companies don’t realize there is a problem until it is far too late. Instead, organizations should learn to take preventative measures and find ways to increase visibility to stop a security breach far before it starts. Read more about the 2018 incident below.


What is a Data Breach / Security Breach?

A data breach is considered the accessing of data without proper permissions. Though the definition sounds simple, data is valuable to cybercriminals, containing personally identifiable information (PII), company information, and even login credentials to administrative accounts.
As more companies make their way online, data breaches occur in large numbers. Plus, with advances in technologies and programs, attackers are now launching very sophisticated attacks that many companies are not prepared for.

The Frequency of a Security Breach

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many people inside and away from their typical 9 to 5 jobs. With many people unemployed and a boost in online activity, cyberattacks skyrocketed, reaching up to 192,000 coronavirus-related cyberattacks per week in May 2020 alone. The frequency of application attacks has increased over the years and is only expected to rise as attackers have more incentive to attack. 

No industry is safe from a cyberattack. The most commonly targeted industries  in 2020 were finance and insurance, manufacturing, and energy. Every single one of these deals with highly sensitive data that cybercriminals can sell to interested parties or use to steal the identities of employees and customers. 

As you can see in Figure 1 below, there are pretty significant differences in where industries ranked between 2019 and 2020, showing that any industry can be a higher target in years to come.


How Does a Security Breach Occur?

Data breaches come in many shapes and forms. Whether it’s a cybercriminal working outside the system or an insider with access, data could be at risk, and it’s crucial for all organizations to understand how they occur. Some of the most common attacks targeted toward organizations are listed below.


Large enterprises are a huge target for ransomware attacks, creating a need to secure their systems aggressively. If ransomware makes its way onto a system or device, hackers could encrypt or corrupt data, demanding a fee for its release. 

Staying educated on current ransomware trends can help you predict and prevent data breaches. Check out our blog post below for our 2021 ransomware trend predictions.



If you or your employees get frequent requests on the web to upgrade your network security, you could be at risk for malware insertion. A click of a malicious link will download malware that affects and slows the entire system. The result is a crashed system and/or compromised data.


Phishing is becoming a more significant issue than ever before, with many cybercriminals upping their game when it comes to phishing emails. Phishing involves the mimicry of a legitimate website in an attempt to gain user trust and steal sensitive information. If employees don’t know how to watch out for phishing, they could put your entire system in danger.

Denial of Service (DoS)

Hackers sometimes create robots that are meant to overflood a system. If an organization’s configurations are not strong enough, hackers could program robots to flood entire systems with traffic, knocking them off of the internet and out of use for their customers.

Workplace Mistakes that Increase Risk of Security Breach

More organizations than ever are turning to the web for their day-to-day dealings. Though the web is efficient, it leaves them prone to cyber threats that could expose sensitive data. The workplace is crawling with unsecured practices ranging from employees up to security analysts.
Some common mistakes include:
  • Accidental sharing
  • Weak password selection and renewal policy
  • Employee misuse of network
  • Weak security configurations
For a more aggressive approach to decreasing risk, companies should incorporate preventative measures and educate their employees on the importance of iron-clad security. Below, we’ll discuss ten preventive measures you and your employees should start practicing today.

10 Ways to Prevent a Security Breach in the Workplace

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for an opportunity to strike. Keep them from ever getting close by adding these ten practices into your workplace.


1. Make a Solid Password Policy

Too many times, employers leave employees to set their passwords. As a way to easily remember, they may wind up selecting things that are far too easy to remember. Maybe their birthdate, their child’s name, the name of their pet. These things are far from secretive, especially with the whole world sharing on popular social sites.
As a means of prevention, organizations should amp up their password policy and have a randomly allocated password with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Though you might have to reset passwords a time or two, that is far better than dealing with a security breach that puts company and client data at risk.
When incorporating a new employee and setting them up with credentials, always explain the importance of password protection and encourage them not to share information. Plus, as an extra layer of protection, configure your system to update user credentials often to keep passwords random.

2. Don’t Forget to Update

Do you know those notifications that pop up from time to time with updates? We know all too well how annoying they can be, but they should never be skipped for security purposes. Updates are there to keep your system and all software current and sometimes are meant to improve security measures.
Plus, you get an extra perk when you keep your system updated, enjoying seamless surfing and faster executions. One issue that comes with updates is that they can take a long time. Still, with the proper scheduling, you could have your team get them done after hours and come into work the next day with an updated system.

3. Check Your Router

Advanced hackers no longer need to insert USBs into your hard drive or get employees to click malicious links. These days, they can gain access to your system from thousands of miles away, especially if configurations are not up to par. Just like other parts of your system, your router is an important piece that needs proper security.
When setting up and configuring your router, choose to enable encryption that turns text unreadable to both human and robotic attackers.

4. Learn the Art of Backups

Data is a cybercriminal goldmine. With customer and company data, attackers have the opportunity to do a number of things, including: 

  • Identity theft
  • Selling of data lists to advertisers 
  • Gain access into unauthorized areas
  • Crash an entire system 

With the amount of data coming into systems of all sizes, management and storage are a bit of an issue. That’s why frequent backups can take care of storage issues and prevent security breaches. Backups keep data safe and prevent common security threats like ransomware from affecting databases.


One issue with frequent backups is storage. Organizations need a lot of space that’s accessible at all times and is protected from dangers. Options like the cloud are a common choice as it is secure and readily available. Whatever organizations choose, it should be secure and be able to hold backups as they come along. 

Of course, even backups fail. Check out our blog post below on how to protect your data when disaster strikes.


5. Firewalls, Anyone?

You’ve probably heard of a firewall but might not know why it’s crucial. You can think of it as your system’s first line of defense against cyberattacks. When configured properly, they keep malicious executions from happening and keep outsiders from breaking into the system. Though firewalls can be a hassle for some users, they are much less of a headache than a data breach.
When configuring your firewall, make sure to be strict regarding unknown IP addresses, unknown users, and zoning. All of these will help to keep a secure barrier around your system and keep unwanted traffic out.

6. Have a Plan in case of Security Breach

Breaches happen more often than you might think. The last thing you want to happen is to experience a breach and not knowing how to deal with it. Instead, create a plan that will help you tackle the issue just in case a breach happens. If you suspect that your system has been compromised, you should kick the plan into gear and don’t forget to:
  • Identify the Threat (Ask all the “W” questions to get to the bottom of it)
  • Contain it
  • Get rid of it
  • Recover your system
  • Document and reflect
Most companies do not know how to respond to an attack and could do so too slowly, putting their information and customer credentials at risk. Because every company that intercepts data and has some kind of online connection is a risk, they should have some sort of plan that will help them identify a data breach. Plus, after each attempt, they should keep everything on record just in case there is a reoccurring issue.

7. Encryption of Data in Transit

No matter what form data is in, it’s susceptible to theft. However, data in transit has a higher risk simply because it is passing from one place to another. That’s why encrypting data that’s constantly in motion is essential. If an attacker happens to get ahold of the data, they will not be able to make any sense out of it.
When data is encrypted, the only time it will convert back t readable text is if the location checks out as a safe location or the receiving party has access to passwords to unencrypt.

8. Get Employees on Board

The ordinary person doesn’t often think about cybersecurity. Most believe that, with a password, you should be protected. Also, they don’t really know how advanced cybercriminals have become in their tactics, unable to imagine the scale at which they can cause damage with a successful application attack.
As a preventative measure, you should teach employees the importance of securing your system and the common types of attacks that could take place. Letting them in on the “why” of security will make them more aware of their time online and help them notice when they spot something that seems odd or out of place.

9. Advanced Virus Detection

For some systems, legacy antivirus software won’t do the trick. Attackers are getting more sophisticated in their methods and know antivirus software inside and out. Modern-day virus detection is on the rise and something that organizations should look into as a part of their protection methods.
Many cutting-edge programs increase the visibility of systems and automate tasks instead of leaving them to worn-out security teams. Incorporating interactive and automated real-time detection into a system and across cloud infrastructures can help.

10. Audit, and Audit Again

Any time that malicious activity is spotted, companies should do their part to document efficiently. In that way, they can have a list of attempted breaches or actual breaches to refer back to. It will also serve when testing for vulnerabilities in the system, helping them get to the root cause faster.
Regularly checking your system is an excellent way to become familiar with your system and get better at detecting malicious activity. The faster that activity is spotted and identified, the less harm that an attacker could potentially do. Always keep track of finding during an audit and schedule frequent audits so that nothing takes you by surprise.

Prevent a Security Breach Before it Happens

It’s no longer enough for companies to add one form of virus protection to their system and forget about it. These days, the attack surface has increased, bringing more opportunities for cybercriminals to act. That’s why companies of every industry should implement preventative practices and share them with their employees. 

Combining prevention along with up-to-date methods of detection, organizations have a solid defense against all kinds of common attacks, able to detect them and stop them before they get ahold of sensitive data. Because business is shifting out of store and online, organizations must adapt and protect themselves and their users from the possibility of a security breach. 

Are you concerned about the cybersecurity of your business? Edge Networks can help! Take our free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment, or contact us today for a free, 30-minute consultation.


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