Minimize the Risk of a Cyber Breach
Cyber breaches have always been there, just below the surface. But looking over the past decade it is clear that their scope and scale have escalated. All day, every day, malicious online actors are working to breach networks – both yours and your vendors’. There are no brick walls to keep the criminals out, and they are always searching for an easy way in. So is the situation hopeless? Definitely not. Let’s take a look at some tactics, measures, and protections that can serve as a valuable defense against a cyber breach.
The Data Situation
Regardless of the type of business you operate, you hold customer data. These factual points are key to any successful business and collecting information in today’s data-driven world has been totally normalized. But owning sensitive information does place a burden of responsibility on every company out there. And management of customer data can make or break a business.
We have seen data breaches of scandalous scale in the past few years. The results are generally the same – seeds of distrust and skepticism are sown among customers, and workers’ morale suffers. And since reputation is as good as gold, when it’s damaged, a financial hit often follows. Given the wrong combination of circumstances, a data breach could spell the end for a company due to lost revenue, denied business opportunities, lawsuits, and mitigation expenses. Amounts vary, but it is safe to say that millions of dollars of damage are not out of the ordinary.
Methods and Motivation
By now we have all heard the sad, sorry tale of an unassuming email sent to a busy employee who quickly scanned through it before forwarding sensitive information. They clearly thought that the recipient was part of the company. Only later is it discovered that this phishing scam will expose countless customers to identity theft. Or perhaps a company’s system is rendered unusable, locked up and held for ransom. To get it back or prevent harm to customers, threat actors could demand exorbitant fees. Vulnerable web applications and easily exploited software code are other easy entry points, in addition to a classic distributed denial of service attack. And relying on vendor networks is a sure way to be a victim of guilt by association when they experience a breach.
Sometimes bad actors are not out to exploit or sabotage, but to spy. They already have their funding from a third party and are harvesting key information to be leveraged against the breached company or organization. Whatever the case, these folks will not give you a friendly warning – they are there to steal and plunder. And since they are already out there working their dirty deeds you could wonder how to protect your company from the inevitable. That’s a question worth answering.
The chain of protection is only as strong as its weakest link, a title which can generally be assigned to a well-meaning employee or business associate. To avoid falling into a predictable pattern or becoming a sad statistic, training and education are vital. Employees need consistent, evolving information that enables them to identify a possible breach before it happens, know when one has taken place, and gives them the tools to respond efficiently and accurately. But the responsibility cannot just fall on employees who have their own daily tasks to attend to.
Companies would be wise to institute a department for cyber governance and to create a specific position for oversight. A team of experts worth consulting and keeping on hand could include legal counsel, insurance claims professionals, experts in the forensic field, and even a public relations firm – all the skills needed in the event of a major breach. With this all-star team in place, an appropriate emergency response plan can be drafted and, if need be, implemented.
Beyond training and preparing for damage control, simple, everyday measures can reduce the likelihood of a cyber criminal breaking through and increase the chance that their attempts will be spotted and thwarted. Firewalls, antivirus protection, and data encryption form a solid three-prong approach to cyber security and pair well with the regular backup of sensitive information. A robust, comprehensive insurance policy is also a must, given that it truly is only a matter of time before your company is hit. It can take some effort and investigation to lay bare your company’s real-world threat vulnerabilities, and the cost of protection will vary, but those upfront investments will always pay off in the end.
Rely On the Experts
At the Bar List insurance network we know that cyber crime is a true and present threat. We also know that cyber security insurance is a key defense that will save your company. But it will take expertise to help you work out your best protection. We fully vet every insurance claims manager that we proudly include in our listings, and we stand by their skill. If you are in need of an insurance or legal professional to work through cyber vulnerabilities and form a robust defense, look no further.
The Bar List insurance network is your reference source for insurance claims adjusters and also a key source for insurance news. We have the insurance adjuster resources your company needs to be protected, aware, and prepared in today’s dangerous online business world. Reach out today to learn how our community of experts can help you.