The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the data regulator for the UK. Each year, it oversees around 500 data breaches and if it finds that firms have been negligent, it has the power to issue massive fines that can amount to millions of pounds. If a company accidentally leaks private information belonging to data subjects or is hit by a cyberattack where files are stolen or encrypted, it must report the incident to ICO within 72 hours. The detailed report will then be reviewed by the regulator and an investigation will decide whether the company could have avoided the event.

While firms suffering a breach will have the opportunity to state mitigating factors, if the ICO judges that the incident could have been prevented, it will fine the firm for its lack of action. In this blog, we’ll cover three ways enterprises can help sidestep this unwanted scenario.

Train staff how to spot a phishing message

One of the most common starting points of a data breach is a phishing email. These malicious messages are loaded with harmful links that can download software that gives attackers network access or lead employees to fake sites where they impart their private credentials on bogus log-in pages. Hackers harvest the credentials and use them to gain entrance to the firm’s systems and data.

To this end, companies must create a cybersecurity culture at their workplace. Employees must be regularly drilled on how to identify a phishing message and understand that under no circumstances should they click on the dangerous links they contain. They must also be trained to report messages immediately to mitigate any other employees receiving the. Once aware of an attack, IT security can isolate messages and move them out of reach.

Keep software and systems up to date

To remain effective and protected all operating systems, applications and software must be kept up to date and running the latest versions available. If security software like antivirus or anti-malware reports a threat, it must be investigated immediately and thoroughly.

Deploy data encryption

Using data encryption is the best defence against a data breach. Whether files are sent by accident to the incorrect recipient, or your system is ransacked by a ransomware operator, if you have encrypted your systems and data, it can save you from a fine. The ICO recognised the use of data encryption software as a company’s clear intent to defend the data they retain and use from exposure.

Takes steps to avoid being fined today

The colossal fines issued by the ICO can cripple a company but, at Galaxkey, we can help you get protected. Our state-of-the-art data encryption solution is based on the onion model recommended for use by the US Government and approved by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). With our solution, you can add end-to-end encryption to emails and their attachments along with any data file that you share or store. Get in touch with us now and start using encryption with a free two-week trial.