Is Your Business At Risk of a Data Breach?

Lessons learned from the Capital One Data Breach.

Data breaches continue to plague small, mid-sized, and large corporation on a global scale. It’s essential to take preventative measures before you get hacked.  

Are You Prepared to Pay the High Price of a Data Breach?

There are two bad outcomes to a data breach that business leaders would be wise to consider. These are the quantitative and qualitative impacts that hacker incursions will have once the electronic dust has settled.

According to resources such as Forbes, the financial impact of a data breach averages approximately $3.86 million worldwide. Those headline-grabbing data hacks known as “mega breaches” can cost organizations hundreds of millions in revenue. The qualitative losses that result from a tarnished reputation when sensitive information is exposed, and the reluctance of industry peers to engage in B2B practices are immeasurable. Whether you own or operate a small, mid-sized, or large corporation, decision-makers need to ask themselves one simple question. Is your business at risk of a data breach?

Poor Habits Invite Data Hackers

It’s crucial for companies across sectors to recognize that data breaches are not exclusive to large companies or those known to have critical information. Hackers are more likely to target the outfits that are easiest to penetrate. In other words, organizations that have outdated or lax security are viewed as the low hanging fruit. These are poor habits hackers rely on to harvest a company’s vital data.

  • Outdated Technology: Software that does not deliver enhanced security across platforms may open gaps. It’s crucial to utilize the latest technology to secure information flows from mobile devices, among others.
  • Lack of Encryption: Encryption is a key element in preventing hackers from deciphering company files. Having the latest encryption abilities in place remains a strong deterrent.
  • Employee Protocols: One of the tried-and-true ways that hackers enter an organization’s system is through employee logins. It’s not uncommon for team members to keep the same password for long periods of time. Workers are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
  • Lack of Monitoring: Small and mid-sized companies too-often believe they are not a primary data breach target. This leads some to take on monitoring tasks in-house. The lack of professional system oversight is a common, and costly misstep.

Correcting these and other subpar security habits is the first step to avoiding the devastating impact of a data breach. It’s also essential that companies of all sizes work with an IT professional who can point out unique deficiencies and close the doors to hackers. But, unfortunately, one of the most significant issues facing today’s industry leaders is not knowing whether you have already been breached.

Preventative Measure if You Suspect a Data Breach

Hackers are a particularly nefarious class of criminals because they leave behind no visible fingerprints, DNA, or evidence of theft for the average person to see. If your home or business were the subject of a burglary, a window might be broken, door jimmied, and valuables would be missing.

Following a hack, nothing necessarily seems out of place. But if you have a sinking feeling that personal or professional data has been leveraged, act as is if that thief took everything in the building. Contact an internet security professional and consider the following measures recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Assemble a Team: Bring together experts to conduct a full review of systems that includes a forensic analysis, IT investigation, and consult with your attorney as the due diligence is being performed about potential next steps.
  • Secure Systems: Lock systems, change logins, create new passwords, and engage in all necessary protocols to regain full control of your system and information.
  • Gather Evidence: It’s crucial to keep any evidence that the breach occurred. Rather than destroy or delete impacted devices, systems, or files, provide these electronic fingerprints to law enforcement.
  • Communication Procedures: When data breaches occur, the damage can be far-reaching. Implement your communication plan and reach out to stakeholders and businesses that may be affected. Attempts to minimize the impact by remaining quiet may lead to civil lawsuits against your organization.

Having a strong response to a data breach may reduce the qualitative damage done to your company and personal reputation. But make no mistake about it, when hackers gain access to sensitive and valuable data, it will get expensive. The best policy for small, mid-sized, and big corporations is to be proactive about cybersecurity and work with a professional. Averting a data disaster is a lot less costly than the alternative.

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