Data breaches are costly and common. The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $9.44 million, and every second, 68 records are either lost or stolen. Hackers are becoming more adept at accessing confidential information, and phishing attempts are harder to spot. WIOA service providers manage sensitive client information every day. With the increasing prevalence of virtual service delivery and digital data management, it’s more important than ever for organizations to double down on their cybersecurity efforts and encourage their clients to practice good cyber hygiene.
Here are 10 best practices to help WIOA staff and their clients keep sensitive information out of the hands of cybercriminals.
1. Use unique, randomly generated passwords
Resist the temptation to get lazy with passwords. Change your passwords every three months. And above all, don't reuse passwords! A password manager can create strong, random passwords and securely store them for you.
2. Multi-factor authentication
It’s a simple step, but turning on MFA can prevent 99.9% of attacks on an account. Require MFA for any accounts your staff is using. If your clients have access to an online portal, they should also be required to use MFA upon login. Any reputable WIOA case management software will have built-in MFA.
3. Don’t use spreadsheets
There are many reasons to avoid using spreadsheets for data management, and security is a big one. Spreadsheets aren’t encrypted, so it’s simpler for hackers to access the data they contain. Plus, it's easy – too easy – to share spreadsheets. Data can be copied/pasted, permissions can be changed, and sensitive files can be emailed. Use an encrypted database instead.
4. Avoid public networks
Encourage staff and clients to use only trusted, secure networks when managing sensitive information. If you’re working in an office, you’re more than likely working on a secure network already. However, if you have staff that works from home, their network security is harder to determine. If they ever use a public network – say, at a coffee shop – any data they access or submit on that network could be compromised. The same is true for your clients.
5. Use AI and automation software
According to a recent IBM report, organizations that used automation and AI technology were able to contain a data breach 28 days faster, saving them over $3 million. Automation and AI software eliminate the need for manual data management, so your organization can respond rapidly in the event of a cyberattack.
6. Turn on automatic software updates
Software updates often include enhanced security measures. Getting behind on software updates can leave you exposed to cybercriminals and increases the risk of a data breach.
7. Think before you click
Phishers frequently target work email accounts. They may try to disguise the email by using a lookalike company email address or changing the “From” name to be your coworker’s or boss’s. If you’re unsure if an email is legit, forward it to your IT department before clicking on any links or downloading any attachments.
8. Train employees
Making cyber hygiene a regular part of company culture can reduce the risk of an employee blunder. Cybersecurity may not always be top of mind for staff, so it's important to host trainings periodically. Offer refreshers on the basics, like password protection and phishing scams.
9. Have a disaster recovery plan
If you have a security breach of any kind, whether malicious or accidental, having a disaster recovery plan in place is paramount. This includes having secure backups of your data, so if any information is compromised or your systems need to go offline, nothing is permanently lost.
10. 3rd-party security audit
IT and cybersecurity are complex and change rapidly. You're an expert in what you do, but that's probably not cybersecurity. That's why it's a good idea to have an annual 3rd-party audit of your organization's cybersecurity measures. Outsource to a professional who can review your digital infrastructure and systems and make recommendations to help you stay compliant and keep sensitive information safe.
Partner With a Trusted Software Provider
myOneFlow helps WIOA service providers efficiently and securely manage large amounts of sensitive information and data. Our customers trust myOneFlow with their clients' most sensitive personal information. myOneFlow is hosted in a data center that is SSAE 16 – SOC Type 2, FISMA High Physical and Environmental (PE), and PL2 certified. Data is encrypted at rest and during transit using industry-standard encryption AES 256. Contact our team today to learn more about our security measures and discuss how myOneFlow could be an excellent fit for your organization.