Manage Business Risk: Dealing With A Data Breach

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To effectively plan for and manage business risk in today’s modern world, it’s all about understanding how to deal with data breaches. Not only is this about the cost of a cyberattack – it’s also about how the trust and reputation will instantly and significantly impact your business for the long term. When customers lose confidence in the way an organisation goes about the protection of their data, it will take vast amounts of time, energy and money to win them back.

So that’s why the best thing to do to manage business risk is to never lose the customer in the first place. In today’s business world that means having an up-to-date plan in place about how to protect your business from a cyberattack.

In recent years so many large organisations globally have experienced data breaches. The likes of LinkedIn, eBay, Uber, Equifax and Timehop Business have all experienced the horror of compromising millions of accounts and making customer information visible.

But, statistics also prove that medium to small business are also hugely at risk from cybercrime. In fact, research out of the US reveals that 60% of medium to small businesses that experience a cyberattack end up going out of business.

The alarming trend of businesses being hacked for their data has led the New Zealand Government to announce that they are implementing stricter regulations for data protection. With the introduction of the new Privacy Act, every business must comply and show organisational preparedness.

What that means is that your business needs to have a plan in place about how you will protect your customers and the data you hold in the event of a cyberattack. If you do experience a data breach, this activity will be automatically  reported to the Privacy Commissioner.

What is a data breach and how does it occur?

A data breach is when a cyber hacker successfully accesses and extracts customer data, such as banking and credit card details, medical records, and other sensitive information. This is usually done for identity theft and fraud purposes.

If a business isn’t prepared with a plan in place about how to protect these key details or to quickly and effectively deal with the cyber breach once it’s occurred, the hacker is left free to simply exploit a weakness in the company’s security – network, systems and people. This is carried out by either evading your network security remotely or by physically accessing your computer/network and stealing information and files.

How do I spot a data breach?

To understand if your data poses a significant risk or if data has been compromised, there are some important signs to look for. Some of the common activities include:

  1. Company confidential data is online for anyone to access.
  2. Frequent unusual activity on your systems at odd times.
  3. E-commerce payments disrupted briefly or frequently.
  4. Login attempts from unusual locations.
  5. Unauthorised downloads on your network/system.
  6. Receiving ‘read’ email attachment that weren’t sent by the recipient.

How to deal with a cyberattack

Despite all your efforts, if there has been a data breach, there are some steps you need to take immediately in order to do damage control. This is where you need a plan in place. ResilienceTec recommends:

  1. Resetting all your passwords.
  2. Monitoring your financial accounts closely.
  3. Considering freezing your credits.
  4. Watching your inbox carefully for hackers to communicate with you.
  5. Using two-factor authentication for identity protection.
  6. Having a cybersecurity plan to prevent this from happening again.

Managing business risk

The sectors most commonly attacked include government, military, education, healthcare, corporate businesses and banking. Business risk can occur from site vulnerabilities such as malware and viruses, weak passwords, and outdated security systems. Information stolen from here can be used for identity theft, duplication of card details, fraud, and sometimes even blackmail. In some cases, bulk data is sold in the Deep Web market. The Deep Web is the dark internet where illicit transactions are made.

Business preparedness

Educating yourself and employees and having an internal plan in place about how you deal with a cyberattack is vital. This is because a good plan helps to reduce risk. ResilienceTec recommends:

  1. Installing high quality security software.
  2. Encrypting files and data that’s stored in the cloud.
  3. Practicing the principle of least privilege (PolP). Each user account has enough access for its job and nothing more.
  4. Using of complex and unique passwords, cybersecurity experts recommend using passphrases instead of words.
  5. Regularly monitoring your system and information for unfamiliar/unrecognised activity and contacting the concerned IT person or your financial institute for clarifications.
  6. Using Pay Pal for secure transactions.
  7. Having secure URLs and accessing sites that are secured themselves. Sites that begin with ‘https://’ are secure. The “s” is key in knowing that the URL is reputable.

Data Breach Case Studies

There are big corporations and organisations that have had massive data breaches. Here are some of them and the number of customers affected by it.

Yahoo, 2013 – 3 billion

Under Armour, 2018 – 150 million

Equifax, 2017 – 145.5 million

eBay, 2014 – 145 million

LinkedIn, 2017 – 117 million

Understanding a data breach is the first step to being prepared to protect your business information and reputation. Hackers and cyber criminals look for gaps within an organisation’s authentication security framework. Securing your data with the help of a professional plan will go a long way is risk management and organisational preparedness.

Reference: trendmicro,2018 | Malware, 2019.

Interested in finding out how ResilienceTec will help your business be cyber safe?
Contact us today.

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