It takes more than complying with GDPR to protect against data breaches
Big data is expected to reach a global market worth of $40.6 billion by 2023. Businesses collect and store vast amounts of sensitive data, from customer payment details to its employee’s home addresses. It is more important than ever that companies abide by tighter data privacy laws to ensure that their customer data is protected and individuals have control over their personal information and how it’s used. However GDPR compliance alone cannot guarantee protection against cyber-criminals who are persistently attempting to gain access and steal data. If your company has failed to develop an effective cyber security solution, your database and assets are at risk of unauthorised access. Find out the causes and knock-on effects of data breaches, as well as ways to improve your incident response strategy.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is a security incident that occurs when an unauthorized party enters a business's database and accesses sensitive information, such as its customer's banking records. These records are often sold on the Dark Web and used in a number of cyber security scams; identity fraud, phishing emails, account takeover and more.
The causes of a data breach
1. A lack of employee training
Employees are one of the biggest threats where cyber security is concerned as a lack of training can lead to staff engaging with social engineering scams. Hackers can also use the information shared on social media by employees to easily reach a company's assets. Therefore it is imperative that staff are well versed on the ways in which their actions can affect the wider business and what to look out for to protect the company.
Cyber criminals look out for unsecured databases as it is the easiest way for them to access company credentials. Most database hacks exploit vulnerabilities such as outdated security systems or weak passwords. Criminals may then lockdown and withhold the database in return for ransom, or sell the information in Dark Web forums.
3.Failure to comply with GDPR
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a set of measures applied to each constituent state of the European Union (or any business that sells to EU customers regardless of the location) and endeavors to safeguard consumer and personal data. Companies are required to request a consumers' consent when processing their data, as well as preserve the anonymity of the data collected and inform users in the event of data breaches. Despite its publicity, thousands of companies do not meet data protection standards.
The impact of a breach
The short-term consequences of a data breach usually consist of fines, compensation fees and investigation costs. However long-term, a company's reputation can be irreparably damaged. A study conducted by PWC revealed that 69% of consumers would avoid companies that were involved in data breaches in the past.
Incident response strategy: how to respond if a data breach occurs
It is important to have an emergency plan for critical security incidents such as data breaches.
Notify your customers or any other party involved
Failing to respond in a timely manner - such as notifying affected customers within 72 hours of a breach - will only slow the recovery process and damage your company's reputation long-term. In your communication you should provide actionable steps based on the types of information stolen. If passwords were stolen, why not force a password reset for all customer accounts? If payment details were stolen, warn customers to discuss the matter with their bank. It is also vital to communicate with banks and other connected businesses; warning customers is one thing but you also have a responsibility to notify banking institutions of the breach to help prevent against fraud.
Identify vulnerabilities and fix them
The only thing worse than a data breach is multiple breaches; therefore, you should identify why the breach occurred and resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Put measures in place to ensure that the same thing cannot happen again by working backwards to create a step-by-step guide, highlighting how the problem started and how it was resolved.
Monitor cyber criminals abusing the stolen data
In most cases, criminals will share the stolen data in specific marketplaces on the Dark Web. Dynarisk's intelligence team is continuously working to recover breached records and can provide a bespoke monitoring service. This involves crawling the Dark Web and well-known hacker forums for mentions of your company’s data, allowing you to stay ahead of potential attacks and protect your customers accordingly.
10 tips to prevent data breach incidents
- Provide staff with training and ensure they can recognize phishing attempts.
- Ensure third party businesses maintain high data protection standards.
- Update security software regularly and where you can, automatically roll-out updates across your entire staffbase.
- Develop an incident response communication plan in the event of a breach.
- Assign a clear incident leader to coordinate across teams.
- Lead regular risk examinations and audits to identify vulnerabilities.
- Ensure that sensitive information is encrypted.
- Implement robust, measurable data security regulations for both customers and employees.
- Increase password security and adopt multi-factor authentication.
Speak to a DynaRisk team member to discuss ways we can help to protect your company against breaches - from breach monitoring services to employee training, we have a range of tools to prevent and assist. #BeCyberSmart