How to protect your business from a data breach

Cyber wars are the new norm and hacking into a business whether small or large or even a nation’s infrastructure seems to be fair game. Just take a look at what happened to Careem; Dubai’s fastest growing startup was hit by a cyber-attack that affected its 14 million users. Just by sending infected emails, hackers can get access to the employee’s logins and passwords. It really is this simple.

For businesses in Dubai, data security is the key. A recent study by IBM and Ponemon Institute has shown that organizations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE saw the second highest average cost of a data breach at $4.94 million (Dh18.1 million), have the highest direct/capita cost ($81) and are amongst the top markets that spend the most ($1.43 million) on post-data breach response.

Top factors that contributed to the increase of cost of a data breach in Saudi Arabia and the UAE include compliance failures and the extensive use of mobile platforms.

An effective defense against the hackers can be created through good governance. And this can be achieved by creating regulations that address compliance.

Before we get to the ways that you can adopt to avoid data breach, let’s define the term for those who are new to this.

What Is Data Breach?

A data breach is an unauthorized disclosure of information that compromises the security, confidentiality or integrity of personally identifiable information such as client records, credit cards or social security numbers.

Data breaches occur as often to small businesses as they do to large businesses with majority of breaches coming from inside the network. Many companies are unaware that almost every Emirate has a data breach law with serious requirements about reporting breaches and notifying those whose data has been compromised. It is a long and expensive process and of course a data breach is a public relations nightmare.

The consequences of suffering data breaches caused major brand damage and range from consumer mistrust, a drop in traffic and decline in sales.

Cyber criminals are getting increasingly sophisticated with no end in sight. So much so that companies are implementing strategies that will protect them from the next costly data breach.

Here are our top seven tips by which you can protect your business from a data breach.

1. Bring in a cyber-security specialist

A cyber-security specialist will provide information about best practices and how to keep security top of mind. Your employees should be made aware of past data breaches so as to make sure that the best protection in in place to prevent the possibility of similar data breach.

2. Keep business and personal accounts separate

You should have separate email ids for your business, personal and your bank accounts. This would mean if someone hacks your personal ID and password he will not be able to get access to business or banking data.

3. Build awareness

Most successful hackers use social engineering. So you have to be skeptical and be cautious in e.g. dealing with unexpected email messages. Also you should strengthen your passwords, build two-step identification and get a good antivirus program.

4. Involve employees in protecting your data

Most data breaches occur by accident. The best thing you can do is train your employees regularly on how to encrypt data, how to create strong passwords, how to correctly file and store data and how to dodge malware. Restricting employee access to websites outside the scope of their daily duties will be helpful.

Also Read: What are the common mistakes new businesses are doing in Dubai & how to avoid them?

5. Enforce restrictive data permissions

Majority of data breaches happen through the front door due to an employee breach. Businesses should constantly make sure that employees only have access to the required information necessary for their jobs.

6. Minimize the customer data you collect and store

Acquire and keep only data required for legitimate business purposes and only for as long as necessary.

7. Develop a strategy

Develop a strategy to protect your infrastructure on multiple levels. This includes closing every opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit the terminals, kiosks workstations and servers.

According to Brandon Bekker, managing director at Mimecast Middle East and Africa,

“Top priority for any business in today’s volatile threat landscape is to plan, develop and implement a cyber-resilience strategy. A cyber-resilience strategy will ensure businesses are prepared in the event of a cyber-attack/breach and have the required processes and technology in place to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from a cyber-attack and/or data breach.”

For information on business setup in Dubai or across UAE, contact us at Business Consultants Dubai. Visit our website or send your query at

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