What is the Real Risk of Data Breach for Your Business?
What is the Real Risk of Data Breach for Your Business?

Importance of IT Security In Your Workplace

The topic of cyber security has become an ever-present issue in boardrooms across the world. Risk of data breach is a real and tangible concern to all organizations, regardless of the sector or the size. All businesses today rely upon critical business data, such as customer data, financials and pricing, and advanced analytics.

Since data is now so important, IT security has become a key pillar in creating a successful business. More than ever, keeping your data secure requires more and more attention. Unfortunately, too many businesses are not set up to succeed with their IT security. Almost half of all companies suffered a data breach in 2017, while almost three quarters of companies suffering data breaches are not sure how they happened. Small and medium businesses are particularly at risk for data breaches, as they represent a majority of the cyber security incidents that occur each year.

The risk of data breach and the consequences of such events are too great to ignore, so what exactly do you need to know about this important topic?

What is the source of data breaches?

Data breaches can come from anywhere. Hackers and criminals are always evolving their techniques and finding new ways to access your data.

Employee negligence is one of the weakest links in data security. Unaware employees might be opening emails and attachments they shouldn’t, leaving their computers or other devices unattended, using non-secure passwords, and more.

An additional weak link is employee mobility, that is people working virtually and/or remotely away from the physical office. While these practices continue to revolutionize the working word, it also comes with increased risk to business data. This is especially true if the remote employees are too relaxed with their use of data by storing such data on personal devices.

These risks are assuming the weak links will be exploited by hackers, but the risk of data breach does not need to be something malicious. In fact, something as simple as failing to back up your organization’s data results in vulnerabilities.

What’s at risk when a business experiences a data breach?

If your business is vulnerable to data breach, what exactly what is at stake? The damages from data breach are great and varied. If exposed to a data breach, the potential harm includes:

  • Damage to your company’s reputation: This is particularly true with potential new clients and the trust it takes to form a partnership.
  • Financial fallout: Data breaches are expensive.  Figuring out what happened, who to fix it and who’s to blame is all expensive.
  • Customer fallout: Being exposed during a data breach could impact your business’s contractual obligations.
  • Legal ramifications: Experiencing a data breach could result in legal penalties, such as compensation for damages and resulting lawsuits. Additionally, there are legal risks and regulatory burden associated with notifying individuals whose data has been compromised.

How can you secure your organization against the risk of data breach?

So now that you’re aware of the seriousness of data breaches, how can your organization best increase your IT security and keep your data safe?

Despite the various potential vulnerabilities, companies can take any number of steps to prevent future data breaches. For one, businesses should work with their IT providers to encrypt data, use firewalls, and install other software-based safeguard technologies. Additionally, technical solutions, like keeping software up to date and implementing two-factor authentication, can greatly increase your IT security.

Besides the technical solutions, organizations also should take care to educate employees and anyone who has access to their data. Topics should include password policy, how to spot malware, phishing attempts, and more. This education should including initiating best practices for remote employees.  Such policies as only opening secure data on certain company-provided devices that utilize the necessary safeguards should be addressed. Just as important as educating the employees, though, is enforcing data security policies and making sure to refresh that education regularly.

Lastly, organizations should take care to hire the best IT experts and/or consultants who can implement the needed IT security protocols. Unless IT security is within your core competencies is is best left to experts.  Above all else, it is not something that should be ignored.

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