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At the end of the calendar year, analysts enjoy reflecting on the year’s biggest news stories to identify the most prevalent trends and patterns and predict potential activity in the future. This obviously includes assessing the economy as a whole, evaluating specific business sectors, and carefully examining some very discrete issues. One increasingly hot topic relates to data security and significant breaches. It seems like virtually everyone is susceptible to an attack these days. As a consequence, it is imperative for companies, government offices, and individuals to take measures to protect important data.


Here are a few industries that likely need to exert a little extra caution when it comes to data security, as well as some sage advice for pretty much any company that handles confidential and sensitive information.


Pay Attention, Professional Services Firms

Based on the latest trends in data breaches, professional services firms need to pay special attention to their security strategy. For any firms currently lacking a coherent plan, now is the time to rectify any such deficiency. It doesn’t matter if your firm provides accounting, financial, legal, real estate, or any other professional service, the hackers know that you have access to a trove of valuable information, and they want access to it. This information may be big ticket items like savings account numbers where millions of dollars are saved or merely a list of names and addresses that could be used for fraudulent credit applications.


Regardless of how important or trivial a piece of data may seem, it is incumbent upon those in possession of such information to guard it fiercely, and this is especially true for professional services firms who do not want to see their client lists dwindle due to negligent handling of client data.


Crack Down on Security, Cloud-Based Solution Developers

It has become pretty standard practice for companies to rely on cloud-based solutions for many of their business affairs. These services obviously provide a range of benefits, but it would be foolish to gloss over the fact that they come with their fair share of risk as well. The reality is that data in the cloud is data that is out there floating, so to speak. Now, this does not mean that just anyone can come along and pluck this cloud-stored information from the sky.


Rather, it is up to the developers of data storage solutions to ensure that maximum security measures are integrated into the system and that they exist at multiple levels. This means employing different types of encryption for data at rest versus data in transit versus passwords protecting access to such data, mandating two-factor authentication, and ensuring that any information is housed in state-of-the-art data centers.


Hawk Over Health Care Data, Medical Providers

The health care industry probably has the most to worry about when it comes to potential data theft. The information contained within medical records is essentially any hacker’s dream. There is so much damage that a person can do with a name, address, date of birth, and social security number that it is actually a bit scary. In addition to the basic demographic data, there may be interesting tidbits a really cruel hacker could use for blackmail or extortion purposes.


The horrible possibilities seem almost limitless. However, rather than surmise about the many what ifs, it makes far more sense for companies in the health care industry to invest the time, money, and energy into crafting a solid data security plan for health care records and all related data.


Get Proactive, Everyone

These days, companies can take simple steps to protect themselves in the event of essentially any unfortunate occurrence, and cyber matters are no exception. Even though plenty of us hedge our bets when it comes to data security, many businesses still avoid making the commitment to implement secure software, one of the most cost-effective and straight forward ways to protect your information. It is better to pay to have secure software in place than to go bankrupt because you wanted to save the company a few hundred bucks a month. It can take a long time and a lot of money to clean up the fallout from a data breach, but having secure software in place can mitigate at least part of the financial damage, and ensure your most critical corporate documents are not impacted.