In our technology-driven world, it’s understandable that along with the benefits that technology provides, it brings a new set of risks. The emergence of data security as a key aspect of business indicates that company leaders understand the potential for security breaches, yet a recent survey of businesses by The Economist reveals that executives may not be giving this threat the attention it deserves. As technology evolves, so do methods to compromise it. Because of this, traditional security measures such as firewalls are no longer as effective as they once were. Therefore, it is critical that the C-Suite understands data security issues that face their companies today and is willing to take steps to combat threats.
Data breaches pose a very real threat to a company’s success and reputation. IBM’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study states that the average cost of a security breach is $3.62 million. On a more abstract level, data breaches can severely damage a company’s reputation. Following a security breach, as many as 65% of customers report losing trust in the company, and 31% will discontinue their relationships with the company. Needless to say, this can have a significant impact on the ability of the company to move forward.
In another data security study by The Economist, the researchers point out that while many executives are aware of the impact that a security breach could have on their companies, their data security priorities are often misaligned with those of their security and information officers. While executives are concerned about their companies’ reputations, IT leaders express more concern over the potential loss of regulated data and customer information. They highlight a lack of consideration for data recovery as one area that has a significant impact on a company’s ability to repel and recover from data security breach attempts. This disconnect between executives and their information security leaders is a huge impediment to creating a strong defense against data security threats.
With the C-Suite involved in the data security of their company, it becomes easier to address data security issues. When executives recognize the dangers of security breaches, more time, energy, and resources are devoted to proactively guarding against threats. Company leaders have the ability to mobilize the entire organization in protective measures, including procedures that require the full compliance of employees to data security practices. Allocating a greater portion of the company’s budget to data security could allow information security leaders to stay on the cutting edge of security measures and avoid being ‘out-spent’ by cyber-criminals. Far from cyber security being just another thing to spend money on, providing peace of mind to both customers and members of the organization enables the growth and success of the company.
One of the most effective ways for companies to protect against data breaches is to enlist the expertise of third-party security firms. Such firms have a wide variety of customers, and therefore, a much larger pool of experience in current threats and countermeasures. The Economist reveals that 71% of firms that were more successful in their data security measures engaged with security vendors, as opposed to only 37% of less successful firms. Not only do security firms have greater experience than the IT specialists of a single company, but they can also advise on data security practices such as software and data recovery, data security policies, and other methods of protecting against security breaches. As we continue steadily further into the age of technology, data security must become a priority in all companies, and that change begins from the top.