7 Data Privacy Risks That Most Companies Overlook

Right now, data is one of the most valuable resources on the planet. Controlling access to data can make or break individual security, innovative product launches, or even the profitability of entire industries. As such, organizations in every sector must take measures to protect their data privacy.

In a single year from 2020 to 2021, cyberattacks increased by a shocking 50%. Also in 2021, the average data breach cost between $3.61 million and $4.8 million, depending on how quickly they were addressed. Faced with these statistics, even slow-to-react companies are at last beginning to implement practices that prioritize data privacy and protection.

But what does data privacy really look like? For one thing, it means implementing processes that protect your company’s data within your daily procedures. This includes regular cybersecurity training, safe password management, and properly disposing of any vulnerable electronic equipment.

Ensuring data privacy can be a sprawling effort with many considerations. Unfortunately, this means that some companies leave themselves exposed through simple oversights. If you’re interested in thoroughly protecting your organization’s privacy, don’t forget to account for these commonly overlooked data privacy risks.

1. Poor Cyber Security Training

In any sector, your employees are your front line. So when it comes to organizational data security, you can’t afford to leave them out of the loop. To make sure your other privacy measures are actually followed by staff members, everyone on your team must have an in-depth understanding of the risks that come with poor security practices.

Worried that trainings are a waste of time? They don’t have to be. 77% of employees have stated that cybersecurity training allowed them to better understand practices that they can implement to protect the company and assets. To help make your cybersecurity training a success, just keep three things in mind:

  • Keep the content engaging so that your team will remember the information better.
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon and opt for straightforward verbiage wherever possible. This will help make your training accessible to team members in every role and department.

2. Poor Password Management

Anyone who uses internet-connected devices already understands the importance of strong passwords, but as humans, we also like to make things easy on ourselves. For example, we’re all guilty of reusing our passwords here and there. But if one employee uses the same password for all of their work accounts, it means a large amount of information is at risk if they are targeted for a cybercrime.

To mitigate this issue, ensure that your employees are not using the same passwords for each account or database. You can improve this process by implementing a password manager with cross-platform functionality. Using a password manager with a multiuser plan will ensure that everyone in the office can create and store their work-related passwords in a secure environment, without resorting to duplicate passwords for their memory’s sake.

3. Neglecting to Update Software

No one likes an inconvienently timed update pop-up, but many cyberattacks can be traced directly back to companies that fail to update their software promptly. Many updates include security patches, and it is much easier for cybercriminals to compromise out-of-date software. Although software updates alone won’t prevent every cyberattack, they will reduce a cybercriminal’s instance of exploiting a vulnerability.

Plus, keeping up with regular software updates is much easier than you may think. The simplest solution to this issue is to set your systems to auto-update at the most convenient time for your staff. This way, you can enjoy the most secure edition of your software suites without the long wait of a manual update.

4. Unsecured Personal Devices

Since 2020, the structure of traditional corporate culture has undergone massive changes, especially in the incorporation of remote and hybrid work models. As a result, many offices have implemented “bring your own device” policies allowing employees to tackle work tasks on personal devices.

On the upside, BYOD culture can support your staff by providing extra flexibility. But on the downside, it makes company data accessible through a lot of additional devices. So if you’re implementing BYOD, you must ensure that your team still has adequate security measures in place. For example, the minimum you could do is require everyone on the premises to use a secure VPN internet connection with two-factor authentication.

5. Mobile Malware and Ransomware

Whether your team has a BYOD policy or works with company-issued mobile devices, it’s now common for our phones and tablets to have access to work projects and databases. However, companies can’t overlook the threat of mobile malware, which often arises in the form of fake app downloads or Wi-Fi spoofing.

Ransomware also poses a unique risk in the realm of data privacy. Although it’s virtually impossible to ensure complete protection over your organization’s data privacy, there are ways to make yourself less of a target – for example, ensuring that your local data backups are encrypted.

6. Holding onto Old Equipment

Almost every company has that storage closet — the one crammed with unused electronics that might come in handy again someday. First of all, these devices become less relevant and more obsolete with each passing day. Are they really worth sacrificing some of your square footage to keep them on site?

More importantly, companies seldom consider the risks associated with hoarding old electronic equipment on their premises. More often than not, there is still sensitive data stored within these devices, sitting unmonitored and unprotected in a storage area. While we’d like to trust every employee and visitor who enters our offices, can we ever be 100% certain? All it takes is one disgruntled staff member or opportunistic guest to access old devices and create a huge data vulnerability for your organization.

Instead of clinging to outdated electronics that only put your business at risk, it’s better to safely dispose of your end-of-life devices with a trusted ITAD servicer who can guarantee your data is destroyed and no longer accessible. Which brings us to our next point…

7. Improperly Disposing of Devices

When it’s time to get rid of unused equipment, you shouldn’t just throw your e-waste in the trash. To begin with, most states have laws against disposing of electronics in a landfill because their materials can wreak havoc on the environment. Furthermore, the data held inside any of these devices would then be left out in the open for anyone to access. 

To ensure your company’s privacy and dispose of your equipment in an environmentally compliant manner, instead consider working with a reputable e-waste recycling company like First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe). We will wipe your outdated devices clear of any data and dispose of the materials using an eco-friendly recycling process. We go the extra mile to protect your company’s data privacy and uphold your brand’s reputation.

First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe)

Overlooking simple data privacy risks can turn into a nightmare for your organization’s security, public image, and bottom line. This includes choosing the wrong IT disposal method. Luckily, there are certified, reputable recyclers that will dispose of your company’s electronic devices the right way. So when it’s time to get rid of your old waste electronics, choose a partner you can rely on.

FAMCe has over 30 years of experience helping businesses safely and responsibly recycle their outdated devices, even in regulated industries. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service has built our reputation as a market leader, and we are committed to exceeding each client’s needs and expectations.

Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s verifiable and secure.

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