Equifax has becomes the poster child for a nightmare data breach that some estimates say cost the company in excess of $1.7 billion. Today’s columnist, Tony Pepper of Egress, offers companies advice on how to avoid costly data breaches. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Corporate data breaches are a big deal, and as data grows more valuable and regulations become stricter, it’s increasingly important to have the right mechanisms in place to prevent them. IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach report found that the average cost of a breach in the U.S. was more than $8 million. Even during a global pandemic, scammers and cybercriminals continue to orchestrate business email compromise scams, spear phishing schemes and other social engineering attacks.

Overcoming this challenge requires a balanced approach that uses effective training and appropriate technology. Here are five steps businesses can take to improve their breach avoidance tactics:

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