How to prevent a data breach

by Michael Addison in How To / FAQ Guides | posted:


Personal information is the currency of the digital age. Companies compete with one another to market accordingly to the consumer. However, storing such information has led to many breaches over the years. In the wake of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a data breach can destroy a company’s reputation and finances.

How could your data be breached?

1. Generic passwords

Splash data a provider of password management applications reported the most common password breaches occurred because of generic passwords. The highest offenders are “123456” and “password”.

Recommendations for creating a strong password include:

  • 12 characters minimum password
  • Uppercase and lowercase characters
  • Sentences (I go to work 5 days a week – Igtw5daw)
  • Change your passwords every 6 months

2. Human error

A local council made the mistake of accidentally sending a spreadsheet containing vulnerable passenger information to taxi firms they held contracts with.

Adequately train employees who handle personal data. Whilst human error is never an impossibility, awareness will go a long way.



3. Phishing emails

Phishing emails are the result of a scammer masquerading as a trustworthy site. A recent phishing scam involved users being sent an email by a video streaming provider asking for their credit card details.

It’s best practice to never enter financial details after following a link in an email or text message; If the email looks untrustworthy then report and delete it.

4. Bad office habits

Unknowingly, employees can be leaving their desks open to data security breaches. Ways this behaviour appears include:

  • Leaving keys behind to locked drawer
  • Forgetting to lock the computer (did you know windows key + the L key automatically locks the computer?)
  • Confidential information left on desks
  • Writing passwords on post-it notes

A recommendation would be to institute a clear desk policy. This anti-fraud prevention encourages employees to keep a tidy desk.



5. Recycling

If your company recycles old hard-drives or paper copies of personal information, then you may be at risk. Throwing away information into the waste bin isn’t enough.  Thieves can and will take anything they can piece together.

At Direct365 we use a secure shredding console for all discarded information. A shredding console safeguards any information that needs destroying. Once the documents are safe in the console, only a trusted document disposal expert can carry out the permanent destruction.

Time is fast approaching the implementation date of GDPR. To prepare yourself before the 25th may, we offer the following services:

  • Businesses who deal with confidential information on a daily basis, our regular shredding service is the best choice.
  • If you need a quick clear-out organised, then we offer a one-time service