Data breaches do not only harm the customers or employees that have their information compromised. They also affect the company that allowed the breach to happen. Corporations that fail at protecting data are at risk of losing sales or experiencing lawsuits from the people financially damaged by the attack. Just as often the CEO’s of these companies lose their jobs and the reputation of the business is scarred for years.
Neglecting to Upgrade
One of the first mistakes many companies make it failing to upgrade their software and security. Companies that handle personal information or process any transactions cannot view these steps as optional. Hackers are professionals at their trade and their mission is to infiltrate everything. When retailers and other corporations continue to operate using outdated software or ignore warnings they are inviting problems.
Diminishing the Risk
For some companies failing to upgrade or make the necessary changes that could prevent a data breach is done mistakenly. Others willfully neglect this step in an attempt to save money. Many of the companies that operate with this attitude have had minor breaches and dealt with low levels of fraud in the past. Their previous experience makes them complacent about the risk because it was easily managed and any financial impact was minor. The regret starts when a large breach occurs. Eventually this will happen with any company that is not careful about data protection because criminals eventually discover the lapse and make the most of the opportunity.
Underestimating the Concern
A data breach does not only happen through the main computer system. It can begin in any type of mobile device and even new equipment is at risk. Every business must be aware that they are a potential target and make all steps, both large and small, to prevent fraud. The financial industry, the health care industry and retailers are prime targets for this type of event and they must be even more diligent about remaining prepared. It is also important to know who may attempt this type of breach. Companies that believe they are only at risk from outside intruders need to realize that employees play a significant role in many of these attacks. Some estimates state that employees are to blame in as many as half of the data breaches that happen each year. In some instances it is malicious and in others simply negligence or ignorance. Background screening, proper training and competent supervision will prevent a lot of these incidents.
All business owners, CEO’s and managers must take an active role in protecting their information and preventing a data breach. This cannot be left to inexperienced IT departments or neglected because there has been no history of problems. Becoming proactive about maintaining security and remaining aware of new risks will prevent the types of problems plaguing many companies today. It may become impossible to prevent all data theft, but criminals do prefer an easy target. The chances of keeping a business secure improves as it becomes more difficult to gain access to their information.