What to Know About Data Breaches

The media has recently been filled with reports of thousands, if not millions of people and companies victimized by data breaches. Target, eBay, and Home Depot are a few of the major companies attacked by hackers. Nevertheless, these are just a few out of the very long list of businesses and organizations that have experienced information loss and data breach due to identity theft.

Whether you are a multi-million dollar company or a solo entrepreneur just starting, your company could be at risk of being victimized by a data breach. About 62 per cent of breaches affect smaller businesses ― but a recent survey revealed that although about 77 per cent of small businessmen feel their companies are safe from threats like hackers, viruses, malware, and a data breach, 83 percent of them don’t have formal cybersecurity plans in place.

Today’s consumers use gadgets, personal computers, and mobile devices to conduct online transactions. Criminals have learned to attack massive networks and steal data records, committing identity fraud on a gigantic scale. With so much at stake ― customers, revenue, employees, and the good name and reputation of both you and your organization ― it is vital to understand the following about data breaches:

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach is when an entity from outside your company illegally accesses or obtains information about your customers. This puts your consumers at risk for identity theft and fraudulent credit card charges. On a much larger scale, it can also tarnish the reputation of your business as you lose the trust and confidence of your current and potential customers.

Is Your Company at Risk?

If your business practices any of these habits, you could be vulnerable to a data breach:

  • You are using old, unsecured technology.
  • You are not updating your data encryption. Data protection courses stress that with encryption, even if your data is stolen, hackers can’t access it if it’s encrypted.
  • Insecure employee login details. Always tell them to use strong and different passwords on all devices/software, change them often, and tell them to no one.
  • You are not monitoring computer systems. Monitoring not only helps keep data breaches from happening, but if one does occur, you will catch it early before a more significant amount of damage is done.

What to Do If You Are Attacked

If a data breach happens within your organization or business, data protection courses advise that these are the things you should know immediately:

  • What is the overall size of the breach?
  • Was the breach an accident or done with purposeful intent?
  • What is the scope of the breach and what types of information were compromised?
  • What are your regulatory and legal obligations, and whom must you notify?
  • What legal and public exposure should you expect as a result of the breach?
  • What is your communication strategy vis-à-vis your employees and your customers?

You can do more to shield your employees and business partners by understanding the risks of identity fraud, determining how serious a threat can be to your company, and preparing a data breach protection plan against being compromised before it happens to you.

Solutions To Reduce Risk

While you can keep your security measures in place, what you need also is a data-centric solution that allows you to control who can read specific files and data sets tightly. Encryption provides this kind of control, but it has to be the right kind of encryption. If a particular file or email is appropriately encrypted, you can control who can read it at all times. Even if there is a data breach of your IT system and unauthorized individuals gain access to the data, they will not be able to read it, and a data breach is avoided. Such an application can reduce your data breach risks to acceptable levels and protect your business from ruinously high data breach costs.


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