These days, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, every business is subject to data breaches. Companies large and small store multitudes of digital information. Depending upon the security measures used, all of that data could be vulnerable.

Statistics suggest that the number of data breaches affecting all industry sectors is on the rise.

This makes it imperative that businesses take proactive steps to ensure that their employees are aware of the potential for data breaches. Moreover, workers need to know that there are steps that they can take to protect the organization from a data breach. Such measures should be a part of company policy, ensuring the ongoing success and good reputation of the business.

Here are seven solutions that you can teach your staff to help prevent data breaches.

1. Insist on Good Security Measures for All Devices

Employees appreciate having work-issued laptops, tablets and smartphones. All of these devices make their job easier and more efficient. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose track of these devices or to be careless about where and how they are stored.

The answer isn’t to stop giving employees devices. It is to insist that employees follow certain protocols. All of those devices should be accessed only with a password. Company policy should prevent leaving devices out in the open in vehicles or taking them to unsecured places. Lost and stolen devices are a huge security concern, so warn your workers accordingly.

2. Mandate Appropriate Password Protocols

Staff may think it’s a pain to use passwords on all devices, even those that never leave the office, but passwords are among the best methods for ensuring that no one can gain access to the company’s systems. Creating strong passwords is an art, and the company should initiate a policy regarding how many characters each password has. Additionally, it’s best to periodically change these passwords.

3. Defend the Network

Employees should be aware of all of the security tools that are in place to safeguard the company network. Firewalls, a VPN, encryption, penetration testing and other tools all protect sensitive data. It’s advisable for employees to be aware of the measures that are being used and how they work so that everyone can ensure that these methods are up and running.

4. Regularly Update Software

Security software needs to be updated each time such an update becomes available. This is because these updates usually repair holes and vulnerabilities. Software that is up to date isn’t as easy to hack or penetrate, thereby ensuring data security. Make it company policy that software updates should be regularly sought and implemented.

5. Limit Access

The company’s computers, servers and other devices all may contain sensitive data that is not available to the public. Much of this data may be private information pertaining to clients. Having this data fall into the wrong hands would be a disaster. This is why it is rarely a good idea to allow too many people to have access to the server room and company computers. Lock doors when appropriate and ask visitors to sign a log before entering sensitive areas.

6. Keep Only What You Need

This solution refers both to data and to devices. Generally, it’s not wise to hold onto a great deal of data that is no longer relevant. Whether it pertains to former employees or customers a data purge may occasionally be necessary. As technology improves, new devices become available. This may mean that old devices must be disposed of before upgrading to new ones. Your company needs a policy for the disposal of all outdated data and devices. Then, you must ensure that your workers know it and follow it to prevent a data breach.

7. Remind Workers About Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are still prevalent, even in the business world. Remind your employees to be on the lookout for suspicious links, and to be wary of clicking on these links without investigating them first. Ask employees to call the sender to verify the message before clicking on any links. In a recent interview, Lucas Johnson of Privacy Australia indicated that over 32% of cyber attacks came in the form of phishing emails of which almost all were opened and clicked on inadvertently by employees.

Too many companies fail to protect themselves from data breaches. Make certain that your employees are aware of these seven solutions, and ask them to use a VPN to protect the company’s data whenever they go online. If you’re looking for a VPN for your business, it’s important to do your research.