According to the latest IBM report, data breach in the UK rose by approximately 8%, which was close to £ 2.7 million. In the UK, the cost of a data breach was slightly lower compared to the global average that stood at £3 million. Companies in the US experienced higher costs of a breach at a record £6 million, followed by the Middle East whose cost was at £4 million.
Sadly, the amount of time organizations take to identify a breach dropped by 5 days to stand at 163 days. On the other hand, the number of days organizations took to contain a breach reduced by 3 days to get to 64 days. These are important statistics because when a company takes longer to identify a breach, the more damage a company can experience and the more expensive it will be for a company to recover.
According to IBM, if a company takes less than 30 days to contain a breach, it can save up to £755,000 compared to companies that take longer. If a company uses encryption and incident response on their data, it helps to reduce the cost per record that is compromised by £12 and £13, respectively.
Although half of all the breaches are caused by malicious attacks, system glitches, and human error account to about 24% and 26% of the total breach. It can be easy to spot these two, but proactively, when the company staff is well trained, they can prevent half the breaches.
There are four specific areas that companies need to be aware of: notification, detection and escalation, breach response, and business loss that is caused by loss of customers and brand damage.
Notification: When your company identifies a data breach, you have the responsibility of informing your customers and provide them with an opportunity to protect their data. This is one of the first steps in your response plan. You have to be prepared to lose your customers when you make the announcement.
Detection and escalation: costs of data breach associated with detection and escalation are investigative and forensic activities, audit and assessment services, and communication & crisis team management to the company’s management.
Breach and response: it can take up to 46 days to contain and deal with a data breach. It gets more expensive if more time is spent to contain a breach.
Business loss: on average, 70% of small firms run out of business in a year’s time when a large data loss happens.
Outcomes of a data breach
Loss of business credibility: repairing the image of the company will cost a lot of money. At the same time, the cost of business insurance will be high. For customers to feel safe, you have to spend a lot of money on cybersecurity. Your company staff will also have to be trained on how to respond in case of breaches. In some cases, your company may experience economic sanctions, which will affect the company’s profits. Your company will also suffer extra costs following investigations, public relations, and legal services.
How to save your company from data breaches
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network works to produce a safe and encrypted connection for your company staff to conduct company transactions. Remote locations and branch offices are the common beneficiaries of VPN’s because they use them to securely use corporate resources and applications. To safely prevent your data from malicious attacks, it is crucial to integrate VPN's in the company’s IT systems. To improve security using a Virtual Private Network, ensure that you use different authentication methods like the use of passwords, distinctive identification procedures, and tokens.
Training of staff
As you train your staff, allocate special tasks to teams. For instance, have a team that deals with the media during the data breach.
Do not use two-factor authentication in critical systems.
Protect sensitive information: create strict measures when staff interact with sensitive information. For instance, avoid the use of external communication devices or channels.
Hire a skilled IT team
To ensure that your data is safe, use experienced data security professionals. Additionally, you can recover data quickly and perform data forensics easily with skilled staff.
Run system tests
Regularly perform random authentication tests on your network and computer systems. This is a great way to identify any system issues early enough.
Perform data encryption: it is important to perform encryption on your data backup without primarily encrypting live files.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation
In the last few years, both small and large businesses have been affected by data breaches. The GDPR recently developed a way to maintain the same data privacy laws all over Europe, to ensure that the information of users was only available to the designated individuals.
This was effected on 14th April 2016, and organizations were expected to comply by 25th May 2018 or else they would incur fines. The GDPR can be taken as a move towards prevention rather than a solution to a data breach.