It’s impossible to deny that breaches are a significant concern for companies worldwide. More than 60% of American businesses reported a data breach in 2021, and global statistics for breaches are still high, including over 50 million data sets compromised in Q2 of this year alone.

In the face of these concerning statistics, it’s tempting to figure out how to prevent your company from being breached. But this is only part of how to approach securing your company and making sure you don’t become the next big headline. The other part is data theft prevention.

The truth is that almost every company will eventually face a breach. As the saying goes, “It is not a matter of if, but when” an organization experiences a data breach. Per IBM, it took an average of 277 days — about nine months — to identify and contain a data breach this year.

Plus, keep in mind that companies only need to report those breaches that endangered customer data. This means there are likely to be even more breaches we don’t hear about because data isn’t stolen and companies aren’t required to report them.

Of course, you want to keep your company in this subset, and the way to do this is by securing your data so bad actors will come out empty-handed, even if they do break in.

Data Theft Prevention: “Sorry, Hackers, We Locked Down the Valuable Data” 

At the most basic level, data breaches are like house burglaries. Someone enters somewhere they’re not supposed to, takes things readily accessible within the space, and escapes. There are two ways to prepare for this possibility: you secure all the entrances to your house, and you also figure out what valuables are in your home and lock them up so thieves can’t access them.

For a business, the equivalent of locking all the doors is training employees to be vigilant and implementing threat detection systems. But the equivalent of locking up valuables is a bit more complicated. You must first determine what critical and sensitive information you are storing, such as personally identifiable information (PII) or product plans, which can be surprisingly complicated. In fact, companies regularly sit on millions of unacknowledged data points. Then you must protect that data by masking, encrypting, securely deleting, or quarantining it.

Why “Locking Down the House” Is a Challenge

Of course, data theft prevention can’t exist in a vacuum. After all, even if you have locked down all your valuables, you still wouldn’t want someone breaking into your house. Legislation often requires both “locking down data” and taking steps not to let a breach happen in the first place. Certifications like ISO 27001 also include protocols that ensure employees are equipped to protect data and are ready to carry out organizational best practices.

Also, not all data is created equal. Legislation is now recognizing high-risk sensitive data as an especially major risk. It’s not hard to see why this matters. An email leak from LinkedIn is qualitatively very different from VTech leaking millions of children’s personal information. Yet the only way to afford special protections to this kind of data is to recognize that it exists separate from other types of data.

Where to Start Leveling Up Your Data Theft Prevention Approach 

The critical first steps of data theft prevention are acknowledging that data breaches are inevitable and knowing where your data is. Once you have identified crucial and sensitive data, you can implement the proper protections and stay one step ahead of the hackers. You will need to continually discover new data so you know what is happening and will not be caught by surprise.

When it comes to data discovery, the best way to be thorough is to use Enterprise Recon from Ground Labs. Thanks to its proprietary award-winning GLASS Technology™, Enterprise Recon can help you comply with an extensive range of data compliance standards and discover your data across the cloud, email, databases, and servers. Only when you know exactly where your data is located can you effectively protect the data.

Book a workshop with Ground Labs and find our how you can negate the impact of a breach by discovering and locking down your data.

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