With the end of 2014’s first quarter upon us, we decided to interrupt our longing gaze at the warm, sunny weather in the near future and take a look at top trends affecting the technology world since January 1st.
Unfortunately, the one story that continues to dominate tech news is data breaches, data breaches, and more data breaches. Although its massive breach affecting over 100 million customers occurred last year, Target reported in January that its Q4 profits fell by nearly 50%, while 2013 profits declined by more than 33%. In a sign of how significantly the breach has shaken the company, last week, Target’s Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob even resigned, while CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced an overhaul of information security practices.
Plenty of new breaches have occurred in 2014, as well. Sally Beauty Supply revealed an attempted breach in February, Sears launched an investigation into one in March, and everyone from Kickstarter to the University of Maryland to Smucker’s has announced their own vulnerabilities. And that’s not even digging into the many small health care-related breaches coming to light daily thanks to the recently enhanced HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, which requires public reporting of any incident affecting more than 500 individuals.
As John Pirc of security organization NSS Labs told SC magazine last week, “The trend in breaches in 2014 will be like the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ — we will be reliving the same scenario day after day.” The worst part? Symantec and the Ponemon Institute estimated in an analysis last May that the average total cost of a data breach is nearly $200 per record affected.
So what can you do to avoid such a devastating occurrence?
• Implement a trusted remote backup and disaster recovery service. CMIT Guardian, for instance, employs top-flight encryption levels for data both at rest and in transit, while also providing a failsafe backup in the event a data breach does affect your business. At this point, unfortunately, it’s more a matter of when than if — so preparing for that possibility is the smartest way to survive it.
• Understand that even the most stringent security measures may still not be enough. We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: every employee, workstation, and mobile device represents a possible vulnerability. Most high-profile data breaches are the result of coordinated cyberattacks, but many smaller ones stem from a single stolen thumb drive or employee that inadvertently opens an infected email attachment.
• Strengthen your passwords. The rash of recent data breaches makes this common-sense practice even more important. The Adobe breach in October that affected over 38 million users revealed a wealth of information. For instance, “123456” was the service’s most popular password, followed by “qwerty,” “abc123,” and “123456789.”
Worried about how data breaches can negatively affect your business? Afraid your information isn’t properly protected? CMIT Solutions can and will help. We understand the critical nature of data security and the impact a breach can have on your business. Contact us today to put our encryption, backup, and disaster recovery solutions to work for you.