Cost of a Data Breach
by Carmella Arroyo on Oct 19, 2021 12:00:00 AM
Unfortunately, companies every day fall victim to data breaches created by cybercriminals. With remote work becoming more and more popular, hackers know that we are vulnerable and subsequently the cost of a data breach has risen every year since. Companies lose millions and can experience damage to their brand or reputation. So, how does one prevent this?
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is a cybersecurity incident that exposes sensitive, protected or confidential information to someone who is not authorized to have access. This information can contain important things like social security numbers, passwords and emails, credit card information and bank accounts.
Data breaches can occur because there is (1) a weakness in an organization’s cybersecurity system or (2) their employees are not cybersecurity aware or trained in security measures that should be taken everyday. There are new computers or mobile devices that are made with new connective features, possibly giving cybercriminals an entryway to your important data. Existing or new technology creates a large surface area for an attack. New digital services and tools can be great assets to your company but when there is a small amount of security testing made, that’s when it can become a problem. Even with great backend security technology, all it takes is one person with poor digital security training in your company to jeopardize your data.
Protecting your company should start with the understanding of how a data breach can occur.
- Outside Cybercriminals
- Malicious Insiders who work within your company
- Devices that become Lost or Stolen
- Poor employee security training
How Cybercriminals Choose their Targets:
Anyone can be the target of a data breach, no matter how big or small. From small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations or government agencies. Hackers know to target companies with weak digital security and develop plans that either get your employees to accidentally download malware or head straight for the company’s system. Cybercriminals look for these common vulnerabilities in their targets:
- 3rd Party Access - cybercriminals can use third party vendors to find a way into your system
- Compromised assets - Authentication steps can be compromised with malware attacks
- Stolen credentials - Using your personal information to hack more into the systems
- Weak credentials - Weak or reused passwords are an easy way for criminals to get into every bit of your data
- Compromised Websites - these websites can have dangerous malware sites
Now, How Much Can a Data Breach Cost?
According to darkreading.com, a data breach can cost on average $4.24 million dollars! This number last year was $3.86 million according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report, making this a 10% increase. This is also the biggest cost increase data breaches have seen in seven years. These numbers are no surprise to experts, as they say the increase is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working became the norm. Many companies were not ready or prepared for the sudden shift to this remote working situation for their employees, creating unprecedented risk. With weak digital security and employees with little-to-no knowledge of cybersecurity measures, cybercriminals took full advantage of this opportunity.
Here are some of the average costs of the top industries that were targeted in 2021:
- Healthcare - $9.23 million
- Financial - $5.72 million
- Pharmaceuticals - $5.04 million
- Technology - $4.88 million
- Energy - $4.65 million
The cost of a data breach keeps rising, but it’s not only just money that these companies will lose. There are other factors that can come into play. When word gets out that a company was breached, this can also hurt their brand as a company and lose trust from their customers and employees. Data breaches are not instantaneous. The average time it takes for a company to find the data breach is 197 days and can take around 69 days just to control and stop the breach. Companies can lose millions because of the downtime a breach creates. For example, the downtime of a hospital can be very critical and can affect things like access to patient data, patient wait time, disruption of workflow and a general frustration of staff and patients in need of medical attention.
How to Prevent a Data Breach:
Data breach prevention training needs to be taught throughout your whole company, no matter how big or small the role. Every individual in your company could be vulnerable to an attack if they are part of your system. Here are some tips that can help prevent data breaches:
- Employee training on what to look out for and best security practices
- Top-grade encryption for all of your companies important data
- Implementing strong credentials
- Multi-factor authentications
- Protective DNS security
A useful security measure to prevent data breaches is making sure your company acquires a strong DNS security and content filtering system. This can stop your employees from viewing or falling for malicious attacks in the first place. DNSFilter can block threats such as ransomware, phishing, malware, botnet, and more right now.
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Industry State of the Art
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