Here are 4 ways businesses – especially in healthcare – can avoid an embarrassing data breach

A data breach can cause companies – especially those in the healthcare field – a massive loss of consumer trust.

We’re looking at you, Singhealth. A recent report on data security worldwide published by analyst from Frost and Sullivan for CA Technologies found that half of all major global organisations last year had been involved in a data breach, resulting in long term negative impacts on revenue and consumer trust.

This was especially the case for healthcare organisations, since they hold incredibly sensitive data on customers, such as DNA tests.

So how can businesses protect themselves from a data security scandal in an era of where cyber attacks happen on a daily basis? The research report offers up four solutions to hang on to those precious consumer trust metrics:


  1. Train even non-technical staff to protect consumer data

According to information security professionals around the world, non-technical employees are the least prepared to protect consumer data because they lack the necessary security awareness training.

The study found that “a large number of data breaches occur as a result of social engineering targeted at non-security employees.” Businesses should ensure all staff are familiar with company security policies, so they don’t end up being the unwitting source of a data breach.


  1. Educate C-suite execs on the consequences of a data breach on the company’s bottom line

According to the study, many business executives see security initiatives as a negative return on investment. But data breaches can result in companies losing half their customer base.

The researchers advised that companies should not only implement data protection policies in line with the world’s strictest data privacy regulations, but also get the C-suite on board by alerting them to impacts like loss of revenue and consumer trust.


  1. Use up-to-date security technology to defend against cyber attacks

Technology is the main way companies defend themselves from cyber attacks, so businesses looking to set themselves apart from competitors should ensure they have the “next generation security technology tools” needed to repel cyber attacks, the report advised.

Examples of this tech include identity access management technology, user behavior analytics (to identify suspicious activities) and privacy management and data sharing controls. The researchers also advised companies to update their systems with new security tech as it becomes available.


  1. Use clear and simple language in data policies

The study found that only half of consumers found information about companies’ data protection policies accessible and understandable, and low consumer trust means a negative impact on a business’s bottom line.

Companies should be transparent and clear about how customer information is protected, and when it is being shared or sold, or they risk alienating customers. The report advised businesses to present their policies “in simple language, and provide important details without overwhelming the consumer.”