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Tips on Avoiding a Data Breach

September 14, 2015

Data breach is a top concern for business owners and executives in all industries, and for good reason.

Data breach is a top concern for business owners and executives in all industries, and for good reason: The average data breach incident costs U.S. companies $6.5 million or $217 per lost or stolen record — the highest of all countries in a 2015 global report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute.

According to the 10th annual Cost of Data Breach Study, about half of U.S. data breaches result from human errors or system glitches. The remaining breaches result from malicious or criminal cyberattacks. Heavily regulated industries — such as the health care, pharmaceutical, financial and energy sectors — tend to experience costlier cyberattacks than less regulated ones.

What have you done to protect against online hackers, especially if you are in one of these high-risk industries?

Fortify Your Defenses

Companies can minimize the risks and costs associated with cyber-data by reinforcing and updating their internal controls. Examples of effective ways to safeguard sensitive customer data and other intellectual property assets from hackers include:

  • Using encryption software on all computers and online communications/transactions,
  • Implementing formal bring-your-own-device policies,
  • Securely storing and disposing of records and equipment,
  • Conducting regular employee awareness programs and breach prevention training, and
  • Adding a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Companies should also consider the security levels of supply chain partners. Often, breaches occur through security gaps in supplier or contractor controls. In addition, formulating a quick, effective incident response plan can dramatically lower customer “churn” if cybercriminals do manage to infiltrate your controls.

Quantifying the probable cost of data breach and response management can help with the purchase of adequate data breach insurance coverage. Most professional liability policies don’t include this coverage, instead requiring companies to purchase an addendum to their existing policies.

Enlist Technology Experts

Protecting against data breach is a daunting task for most business owners and executives. Outside technology specialists can help identify risks, brainstorm precautionary measures and implement effective controls based on the needs of your individual business and industry.

Be sure to have a cyber-risk assessment performed so that your company doesn’t become another statistic in the battle against malicious cybercrime.

For more information, read our whitepaper, “Cybersecurity: Is Your Organization Prepared?” Questions? Contact us.

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