Data breaches are increasingly becoming common in the United States, including ransomware attacks that happen as frequently as every 40 seconds. Moreover, 2016 brought in a record number of data breaches of 1,093 incidents, and hey're projected to rise. There are adverse consequences that can occur if you're not properly protected, including lawsuits and financial loss. It's vital to take action. Here's is what you can do:

Learn from the Past

Twenty-sixteen was a year that put data breaches and the significance of cybersecurity in perspective. Ransomware attacks were sparked by worms, such as WannaCry and NotPetya. These worms exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft patches to block data so that hackers could ransom extort businesses. These worms spread globally costing millions.

By now you've heard of Yahoo's 2016 announcement of a huge data breach that started back in 2013 and 2014 cost the company a financial loss of $350 million. As one of the largest data breaches, it affected 500 million Yahoo! user accounts exposing names, birth dates and hashed passwords.

Even employees can make mistakes unknowingly and cause a data breach. In fact, SWAG experts have found that most data breaches are the result of improper employee handling. Boeing experienced a data breach in November 2016 when an employee unknowingly shared sensitive data, such as Social Security Numbers and personnel IDs, that was located in a hidden column within a spreadsheet. He shared the document with his spouse to help fix an issue. Understanding the nature of these incidents can provide insight for enhancing cybersecurity procedures and training.

Keep User Data Safe

Take the necessary steps to safeguard your data. Avoid using the same passwords across multiple accounts and change them frequently. Use a combination of characters, letters, and numbers, and use multi-step authentication for additional password protection. Set up email notifications to alert you when unauthorized logins are taking place from unauthorized devices. Train all employees on proper security protocol, including newly hired tech candidates.

Get Protected

Getting protected is important in today's digital world. You can get protected by taking the necessary precautions to safeguard your data, such as using best practices, installing robust security software, and even procuring adequate liability insurance to cover losses due to data breaches. Also, consider ramping up your cyber security tech team with employees that are fully qualified in cybersecurity. You can enlist the help of a professional team of experts, such as Speak With a Geek, that can help you find qualified tech candidates, too. They will be instrumental in keeping your network and data safe and knowing how to spot vulnerabilities to prevent data breaches.