Never underestimate the impact of a data breach

The growth of cyber-crime and the impact of successful attacks on an organization’s bottom-line should not be underestimated; it is anticipated that data breaches will cost businesses up to £1.3tn by 2019, with new threats emerging at the astonishing rate of 390,000 per day. As the threat landscape continues to grow, the responsibility for guarding against damaging cyber attacks and protecting corporate data will lie with all employees.

It is and will become increasingly imperative that non-IT employees stay informed of the latest security threats in order to guard against hackers. Ensuring that all employees are educated on the current and future threat landscape – and the role that they can each play in preventing attack – is vital in ensuring that an organization is less vulnerable to threats, especially as an increasing number of data thefts are caused by employee negligence and computer glitches.

Organizations need to take a number of steps in order to reduce the likelihood of a data breach and to minimize the cost if successfully attacked. It is imperative that businesses specifically understand current and future risks and take steps to address them as quickly as possible.

Bolstering defenses against cyberattack
Regular security risk assessments should be performed to gain a comprehensive view of an organisation’s breach risk profile, while also planning ahead to ensure an appropriate, rapid breach response in order to reduce legal, reputational, and financial liabilities. A core element of this is having an incident response team in place with clearly identified responsibilities.

Organizations should also choose an appropriate business security solution to protect the company network; update policies and procedures according to new technologies and procedures; and train employees on the risks of a data breach. In today’s changing and ever-evolving threat landscape, these are all necessary steps to take to ensure protection.

Assessing and addressing the damage caused
While it may be tempting to consider the cost of a breach in purely fiscal terms, its true impact can be significantly greater – a data breach can have a devastating impact on a firm’s reputation and, in turn, its economic value. A company’s reputation is priceless and rehabilitating a tainted brand or corporate image, which is intrinsically linked to the value of the company, is a resource-intensive process with unexpected results. The damage experienced by a company after a data breach can have long-lasting negative effects.

Deploying new security technology to address these threats obviously carries a cost in terms of both budget and time for implementation and training; however a careful examination of the big picture will prove that the cost of not implementing such technology can be even higher.

Cybersecurity is a company-wide issue
One of the key areas where education is required is BYOD. This has now become widely accepted business practice, yet according to research the majority of business owners are not interested in investing in mobile device security . Small businesses, in particular, tend to disregard BYOD as a potential danger for their company, and this negligent and dangerous attitude often originates from confusion around who is accountable for securing personal devices. Despite existing security policies, employees and organization leaders seem to point fingers at each other, absolving themselves from security responsibilities while blaming the other party.

Security breaches are the result of increasingly sophisticated attacks, with cybercriminals taking advantage of larger attack surfaces as more devices become inter-connected, as well as internal security incidents caused by employees misusing company resources, whether maliciously or unwittingly. Guarding against data breaches is a company-wide issue, and every member of an organisation must play their part in preventing this.

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