Unfortunately, the days of data security and cyber-crime being “not my problem” are long gone. As many as 143 million people were affected by the most recent high-profile data security breach, which compromised sensitive data. And in the era of big data, companies know more about their consumers than ever before. If your company handles customer data, from swiping a credit card to managing personal information, now is the time to think about how secure that data is, if you haven’t already. What are some things you can do?
The answer is complicated: smarter technology means smarter criminals, which means businesses need smarter security. Installing a firewall on your desktop is no longer enough to keep your data safe. Instead, companies need to be proactive and knowledgeable about security threats. But it’s difficult to keep up with everything you need to know about data security when you have your own responsibilities. It might be time to consider a full-time data security expert.
The Case for Data Security Experts
As mentioned previously in this blog, data security has become a big issue for any business that handles customer data. In their 2017 Cost of Data Breach Survey, IBM reports that 1 in 4 businesses will be the target of a data security breach attempt, and that the average cost of a security breach is $3.62 million in decreased consumer confidence and lost business. If your business uses cloud computing, transfers sensitive data via file sharing or email, or does not have a data recovery plan in case of incident, a breach is possible, and could have devastating effects.
A data security expert serves as a coordinator for all data security practices, defenses, and safeguards within a company. Whether a single individual or a team, data security experts work with everyone involved in the business, from upper management to workers to clients, to ensure that data security best practices are in place and that employees are complying with them. Steps like encrypting data prior to transfer and removing data from company systems when it is no longer needed can be built into everyday operations as a proactive security measure. Experts can use software and tools to test the company’s defenses, finding weak spots and points of entry for cyber-criminals in order to strengthen those points. As a coordinator, a data security expert can train all employees in the importance of data security and advise on practices such as restricting access to sensitive data to only those who require it, to reduce risk of internal breaches.
In the event of an attack, a data security expert that is well-versed in your company’s defenses will be better equipped to save time, money, and data to best assist in the business’s recovery. With a data recovery plan in place, your company can assess damages and get back to work quicker, minimizing loss. Bringing in specialists to help a company recover after a breach is often too little, too late.
While it may sound dramatic, or like an unlikely doomsday scenario, data security breaches can happen to any business. The most important steps to take are to be aware of the risk, and to take immediate action to protect any data that you handle. If you don’t know where to start, it may be time to begin searching for a data security expert.