In Review: 2017 Data Breaches

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    In Review: 2017 Data Breaches

Data breaches have become a consistent disruptor of corporate IT life. Both the number of incidents and the amount of data lost can create a feeling of inevitability around these issues. Technology teams may begin to assume that there's nothing they can do to stop personal information theft, only to divert their efforts and dollars to recovery efforts.

However, there is evidence to support that security precautions are able to serve as a defense against the harmful effects of data breaches. Even though information theft has become a persistent threat, it is not unstoppable, and there is a vast difference between IT departments that are prepared, and those who aren’t.

Survey: Breaches could have been prevented

The Online Trust Alliance recently released its 10th annual overview of data breach trends. The organization announced that the results reveal a few concrete patterns from 2017, with large companies becoming the victims of hacks that compromised enormous amounts of personally identifiable information. The authors state that IT teams must assume hacks will occur, but instead of using this inevitability as an excuse to skimp on defenses, they should be prepared to battle back.

The recommended approach to defense is twofold. Companies should have strong stewardship in place that will keep their data safe and their operations in line with international standards. They should also have plans and personnel in place to respond when they become the victim of a breach. These efforts are essential in a landscape that’s growing more threatening and dangerous over time as hackers' methodologies evolve.

OTA concluded that after inspecting data through the third quarter of 2017, 93 percent of all breaches suffered could have been prevented with a greater focus on security essentials such as patching software and studying vulnerability reports. Rather than representing a spike in preventable breaches, the high figure is consistent with past years' findings.

Learning and defending

TechRepublic acknowledged the debilitating effects a data breach can have on an unprepared company. Since human error is often one of the factors at play in such an event, it’s common for the post-attack analysis to take on an uncomfortably personal element as individuals are cited for the mistakes that let the costly problem occur.

There are many preparation methods that can help businesses avoid getting into such a situation, especially when they look at companies that have experienced data loss. For instance, leaders are advised against deputizing a single team of internal personnel to respond to security alerts. Rather, they should ensure all relevant employees know what their duties and responsibilities when it comes to securing data. Internal resources can collaborate with security contractors to get the job done.

While rules and regulations around data protection shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all goals for these teams to hit. They serve more as an useful baseline of security. If companies fall below the stipulated levels of preparedness, leaders need to improve their defenses immediately. TechRepublic urged IT managers to understand the laws governing their particular industries and get in line with them - these statutes cover all steps of data protection, from preemptive measures to disclosure of a hacking event.

Commit to better readiness

Being ready to defend against data breaches isn't futile, despite the prevalence of attacks today. Companies that follow approved practices are more likely to be better protected than others that decide against such cautious moves. This could be the differentiating factor that prevents thieves from getting away with important information or stops the organization from suffering regulatory penalty.

Protecting your data means being proactive about security and taking necessary measures to help secure your systems against a breach. Learn more about how adopting a Data Breach Readiness plan can help your organization prepare for a breach.

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