The cost of cyber crime is up, causing concern about banking information security, data breaches, and securing information from cyber criminals. Each year, the Ponemon Institute interviews 60 large companies in the United States to gauge the effects of cyber crime. This year, it found a 26 percent increase in the cost of cyber crime. The average net cost of cyber crime is now $11.6 million per company.

Whether you’re concerned about the cost of cybercrime, banking information security, or improving data security in general, protecting confidential data is of utmost importance. The Ponemon study serves as a reminder to companies to shore up their defenses. What can you do to improve your data security? Here are a few steps to take now:

1. Conduct a risk assessment. For example, where does your data reside? Who can access this data? How is this data secured? Is the data easy to move from an authorized storage device to an unauthorized one (such as a USB drive)? Is your data encrypted?

2. Find out if your data security is in compliance with applicable regulations – and then take it to the next level. While it’s important to comply with regulations, consider those the minimum standard and take your data security efforts to a higher level.

3. Hold security awareness training. Many data security breaches occur because employees unwittingly allow them to occur. They may respond to a phishing attack and inadvertently reveal their user names and passwords. They may click a link and unleash a destructive piece of malware. They may download what appears to be a legitimate program only to invite a malicious program onto the network.

4. Develop a data security policy. If you have one already, review it to ensure it remains relevant. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to get one.

5. Invest in proven data security tools. Firewalls and network security programs are just the beginning. In today’s mobile environment, your network is no longer self-contained. Make sure that data encryption becomes a part of your data security program.

Author bio:

Daniel Gail is an author and expert in the world of data security. He wrote this article to inform his readers on the benefits of whole disk encryption software with resources gathered from WinMagic.