Data Breaches Are Still Relevant Hacking is alive and well in 2019. According to recent information published by ID Theft Resource Center, reported incidents are increasing and consumers are being impacted in greater numbers. Data breaches account for the majority of cybersecurity incidents, with several organizations reporting massive customer data loss in 2018. Not A Simple Fix According to industry experts, the increase in data breaches can be attributed to several factors:
  • Locations – companies are placing data within hidden and protected environments. This provides the ability to fortify and protect – but also provides hackers the breadcrumbs to know where to strike.
  • Size – companies are creating massive datasets for analyzing customer trends. This provides huge wins from a business perspective, but greater risk for security as these new data warehouses are a goldmine for hackers.
  • Communication – information on new vulnerabilities and exploits travels quickly. Across multiple platforms, hackers are able to collaborate, share information and collectively target weak organizations.
The Problem Hits Home Recent statistics show that the Healthcare and Financial sectors are the most impacted by data breaches. However, last year across all industries, the increase of consumer ‘personally identifiable information’ (PII) exposed launched 126%. According to ITRC, one hotel company had the highest number of reported records exposed in 2018 – impacting 383 million people worldwide. Large technology companies also suffered critical breaches. One significant breach allowed hackers to access ‘tokens’ for over 50 million accounts. Another company was hit with two incidents, impacting close to 53 million users. Fighting the Good Fight What can companies do to remain safe? Tackling the problem of breaches should be a multi-step process.
  1. Organizations should evaluate data. Determine where it resides and classify the type of data.
  2. Work alongside IT to ensure a clear path to remediation of vulnerabilities or known exploits exists. It’s impossible to stay ahead of everything – but having metrics to measure things like ‘time-to-patch’ can be helpful.
  3. Educate within the organization to understand the risk vs. reward of working with large data. If possible, segment information – this can reduce risk associated with a breach.
  4. Follow security best practices around data encryption and password complexity. Creating policies which require best practices can help ensure your organization is not a target.
Always Improve Tackle the new year with a clear focus on security being built-in, and not bolted-on. This will help your organization prevent customer data loss. While no environment is 100% secure, planning ahead will help your organization avoid being a target. For more information on protecting your customer data, contact us:

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Eric Walker, CEOEric Walker, CEO & Founder, The Next Step Agency
Business guy who teaches creative entrepreneurs how to shake off uncertainty and make strategic decisions that transform their ideas into thriving businesses.