According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $4 million. The same study also found that the average cost per confidential record stolen was between $154 and $158. Statistics also show that there’s around a 22% chance that your organization will be successfully targeted within the next two years. As hackers find new ways to circumvent security protocols and take advantage of companies with inadequate security in place, it’s clearer than ever that no company can afford to take unnecessary risks. Most likely, your business cannot afford to lose millions of dollars and have its reputation tarnished by a data breach, so it’s imperative that you’re prepared.
Everyone knows that prevention is the best cure, so it’s important to proactively guard your business against data breaches in the first place. The reality is, however, that most organizations simply don’t have adequate security in place that exists to identify potential threats both large and small. It also helps to minimize the attack surface as much as possible, since there will then be far fewer opportunities for hackers to exploit, and it will be much easier to identify threats. In fact, one of the reasons that a lot of smaller businesses are migrating to cloud computing is that it requires minimal on-premises hardware and software resources, thus reducing the attack surface substantially.
Most data breaches are a result of deliberate criminal acts, but a third of them are instead down to human error. Human error being responsible for costly data breaches is typically a result of over-reliance on manual technologies to detect and define potential security issues. However, by using the right tools to automate such routines, it is possible to detect the overwhelming majority of threats within seconds rather than hours or days. A powerful security solution will, for example, be able to detect most zero-day threats simply by identifying suspicious activity, even when the malicious software or security hole hasn’t been previously discovered. In other words, it allows enterprises to stop data breaches right in their tracks.
Responding to Threats
While you’ll want to be able to prevent data breaches if at all possible, there will always remain the risk of your business becoming a victim, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. As such, it is crucial to have an appropriate response strategy in place. You’ll need to be able to respond immediately to such issues, not least because the attack surface of a data breach expands exponentially with every passing minute. Consequently, every minute costs vast amounts of money and man hours while also causing serious damage to customer faith. As such, it’s important to have a thorough response strategy in place and, just as importantly, a skilled team of the necessary size to execute it at a moment’s notice.
Creating a suitable data breach response strategy involves several important steps that take into account any legal factors, business goals or requirements, employee obligations and incident-handling procedures. Most importantly, you should have a member of your team available to immediately seek legal counsel and execute your response plan as soon as possible. This process will involve alerting all members of the team, recording the date and time that the breach was discovered, securing the premises, documenting everything you know about the breach and reviewing the protocols involved in the breach. By having a strong response plan in place, you can reduce the average cost per stolen record by as much as 90%.
A solid enterprise security plan starts with knowing where your potentially sensitive data lies, which channels of communication it travels through and how to protect and monitor it at all times. By using a data profiling tool to scan your organization’s data infrastructure, you’ll be in a better position to determine who has access to sensitive data and automate the detection of any potential threats.