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In 2018, the U.S. business sector recorded 571 data breaches, the largest number ever recorded, according to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, a program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Because cybersecurity requires the vigilance of everyone within an organization to keep data, customer information and capital secure, the department is sharing tips aimed at helping employees connect to networks with confidence and promote a culture that makes data security a top priority. Among them:

Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.

Know that technology has its limits. Security measures work only when employees use them correctly. Smart technology runs on data — meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions, and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices to prevent data breaches.

Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keep your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to run regular scans.

Recognize that social media are part of the fraud toolset. By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your partners, vendors and human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment, or share PII on social media platforms.

Be vigilant because it only takes one lapse to cause a costly data breach. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately.

Choose a strong password. See Cardan’s roundup of tips for choosing a strong password to protect data.

Disclaimer: The information provided is intended to increase security awareness and is not meant to be a complete discussion of cybersecurity. Cardan Capital Partners does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in the links and neither endorses nor intends to promote the advertising of the resources listed herein. The opinions and statements contained in such resources are those of the vendors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Cardan.

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