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2018, the year of breaches

It has become very rare to go a week without hearing about a major data breach somewhere in the world. If you were hoping that things would change, according to a report by Positive Technologies, breaches had increased by 32% in the first quarter of 2018 when compared to the same time last year.

John Mc Loughlin, the MD of J2Software always says, “There are two kinds of businesses out there: Those who have been breached and those who do not know they have been breached.”

Businesses need to realise that if they are not taking precautions or thinking about cyber security, there is a big possibility that they are being breached and are completely unaware it’s happening.

Businesses of all sizes have a responsibility to ensure they have a multi-layer cyber security program in place to protect their staff, supplier and client’s data.

Breaches are costing businesses millions, not only due to the loss of information but also having to do damage control and address the issue to the public. 

The cost of a data breach is not only about the direct financial loss because the reputational damage can be far more expensive as customers leave and stop doing business when the trust is lost.

It is all good and well to do a public announcement, apologising for the fact that you have been breached, but it is a pointless exercise if there are no changes to the way you do business. By not taking action, you are simply waiting for the next breach.

That being said, individual users have a responsibility too.  Many attacks are conducted with the distribution of malware. Security measures are important and it is also vital that each person in your organisation who uses email and systems understands the dangers, severity and what to look out for. All the measures in the world will not help when a trusted user opens a suspicious email or clicks on unknown links.  If each person can be educated about the effects of data breaches and how they can indirectly cause one, the better the chances of prevention.

Some things to keep in mind to try and prevent a data breach:

  • Only keep information on the local machine, if absolutely necessary. If the data is no longer needed ensure it is permanently deletes.
  • Make sure you use encryption, i.e. if a file is lost and accessed on another system, it can’t be read.
  • Forensically wipe devices before disposing or redistributing the machine
  • Continually educate your staff.
  • Bring in a reputable managed cyber security partner, like J2 Software, who can make sure that your environment is as secure as possible and delivers real visibility to mitigate risks, identify threats and remediate immediately.
  • Ensure the deployment of a layered security program to continually improve your security posture while reducing the attack surface as much as possible while allowing for seamless work.
  • Do the basics – with the housekeeping in place, you will be able to prevent a large amount of basic attacks.

Cyber attackers are no longer using standard attack methods, they are getting creative with new methods to launch an attack. This means that there needs to be constant adaptation and education around this in your business and in your home. Unique attacks will continue to grow and will try create rifts in the cyber world as we know it.

The sooner we acknowledge the need for suitable cyber security specialists, the sooner we can start to bring these statistics down and combat the ever-changing cyber attacks.

From your Resident Millennial here at J2 Software #Letsgetreal

Olivia Hannah Coetzee

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