The 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, found that the average cost of a data breach for US companies that have been impacted is $7.91 million. The average number of leaked records is 31,465.
2019 saw a 54% increase in the number of reported breaches compared to the first six months of 2018. In 2019 alone, the number of records exposed have exceeded 15 billion.
What exactly is a data breach?
A data breach, also known as a data leak, is when someone without permission gains access to protected digital information. This is different from a data loss, because the data is still in tact–it’s just that an unauthorized person can see it and use it, too.
Whether you are operating a large or small company, investing some of your resources in securing your data seems almost critical.
Two key risk factors for data breaches
There are two major risk factors for data breaches that companies should be aware of: devices and people.
Devices, especially portable data storage devices like thumb drives, external hard drives or mobile devices, can be a big risk factor. If employees have devices that are used to access corporate networks and resources, those can be lost or stolen. The challenge is that it can be hard to manage security controls on equipment like this.
To protect devices, LogMeOnce has an Anti-theft feature in our consumer version and a Device management feature in our business version.
People can be a risk factor, whether by mistake or deliberate intent. Some people have access to regulated or sensitive information, and they need this access to perform their job. However, they can accidentally send information to the wrong email address, or upload files over an unsecure server or network, or become victims of identity theft. They may also maliciously use their access to compromise data for various reasons. Or, a person may fall victim to identity theft.
What you can do to prevent and respond to a data breach
One of the biggest challenges of securing your company is that hackers and cyber criminals are constantly creating new strategies for accessing data. What can you do to help mitigate your risk?
• Access your risk. Has your company ever performed a risk assessment? An IT Risk Assessment is a comprehensive review of the IT organization, with the objective of identifying existing flaws that
could be exploited to threaten the security of the network and data. It serves as the basis for deciding what steps to take in reducing risk and how to make decisions to handle vulnerabilities.
Download our IT Risk Assessment Guide + conduct your assessment today
• Encrypt your servers and data. Encrypting your data is a simple, yet often overlooked, way to prevent hacking of your company’s sensitive information.
There are four key areas to focus on:
1- Your files and documents stored in cloud storages such as dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive
2 – Your website and email server
3 – Individual devices
4 – Your company and employees’ online accounts
• Educate your employees. Surveys show that 50% of data breaches involve regular users, many times unknowingly. Make it easy for your employees to protect themselves online with password managers and antivirus software, and teach them how to notice and respond to cyber attacks.
• Perform regular backups of your files. Use external harddrives that are kept offline to back up important files regularly, automatically. There are a range of devices available on the market that can be set up over your local network to connect the devices within your company to back up as often as you wish.
• Be prepared with a response plan. Decide ahead of time whom to contact and what to do in the event of a data breach, and make sure your employees know as well. If you do get violated, do a thorough review to understand how, why and what to do in the future to prevent repeat incidents.
Staying on top of cyber security takes attention, but with some basic preventative measures such as these, you can become much more protected in a short period of time. The efforts invested ahead of time can save a lot of stress in the future.