Things you don’t want to hear. “You have been breached.” There are many ways to find out – a systems notification, the discovery of a discrepancy in a dataset, or even an angry email from a compromised customer. Regardless of how you find out, it never makes for good reading.
But how important is it? What if only relatively minor data has been stolen or a hacker has only penetrated a short way into your security structure? Still need to worry? The answer is yes – even small security leaks can cost your business big bucks. And here’s why…
Small Leaks, Big Costs
If your house is broken into and the thief only takes a pack of Tim Tams, how do you feel? Slightly relieved? But you still feel violated and intruded upon and concerned that, next time, it could be worse. It’s similar with cyber security. Small-scale probing attacks can lead to larger scale leaks once the digital locks are unpicked and you fail to do anything about it.
Even the smallest leak can make clients, prospects and suppliers wary. They may not feel as at ease with sharing personal information or other details with you or your business following a breach, even if that breach was relatively minor. Building trust a second time is more difficult than it was the first time around. It is typically easier to work to prevent such breaches in the first place. And it is possible that clients may leave your business because of trust issues, resulting to losses in potential earnings.
It is often better to be proactive than to be reactive. And It is usually far more cost-effective for an organisation to invest in robust security ahead of time than to go back, assess the damage, and retrofit a poor security posture following a breach. We all know this, and yet many remain complacent. In Australia for example, in 2015 – one year after the threat from the Heartbleed bug became public knowledge – an astonishing 84% of businesses were still vulnerable to the said security vulnerability.
Smaller Is Getting Bigger
The definition of a “small” leak is changing, and not in a good way. Between 2011 and 2013, the average cost of a compromised record rose from AUD $138 to AUD $141, while the average total organisational cost for a breached company rose from AUD $2,160,000 to AUD $2,720,000, a trend which continues to climb.
But it is not all bad news. Organisations seeking to secure their data and their systems can maintain the upper hand by taking a few, carefully considered steps regarding their digital defences.
If your organisation allows the use of personal devices, ensure all are secured. Proactive measures should also extend to employees leaving the company as they and the devices they used can be a form of a security threat as well. Revoking company account access and changing company account passwords are just two of the security measures you can take. If your organisation has antivirus and anti-malware systems in place – and it should – make sure that these systems are assessed and updated on a regular basis. These are just some examples of best practice to follow to help prevent small but costly data breaches.
Implement Rigorous Testing and Appraisal Structures
Testing and appraisal procedures should be a systematic part of business. Start by creating a schedule for checking and updating and make sure that this schedule is adhered to, aiming for 24/7 protection. This helps ensure that the organisation’s data security programs, protocols, and processes are not only current, but funcitonal.
A Breach Is a Breach
Even tiny, seemingly insignificant data breaches and leaks can result in major trouble and expenses. Get used to treating security breaches of all shapes and sizes as what they are: incidents that have the potential to cost your business significant money. This is also where employee education counts. Through constant communication and initiatives, work to educate your staff on how to effectively use technological tools in a secure manner. It should help convince them not to take any security breach lightly, which leads us to the next item…
End Culture of Complacency
Complacency is arguably the biggest danger facing modern business when it comes to security threats. Depending on management attitudes, it is also relatively easy to fix. Regular briefings, highlighting not only the threat of data leaks and breaches but also the techniques to use when combating them, help put everyone on the same page when it comes to having a vigilant approach towards data security. The aim is that everyone understands their responsibilities towards security and recognises the warning signs to look for
Integrated Security Solutions
Your security solutions should fit your company’s internal structure. This means that they should integrate seamlessly into existing systems, providing a high level of security without hindering business performance. The aim is to increase security without adding other burdens to business operations.
Services and products such as those offered by FinalCode help deliver the type of security solutions that enable organisations to share and distribute files – even sensitive ones – easily and safely. This in turn enhances the business’ overall security, helping you stay protected from data breaches, no matter how big or small they may be.