Skip to main content

Since 2008, Texas has experienced more than 661 data breaches resulting in an exposure of 288 million private records, according to Comparitech. If you look across the country, the numbers start to get eye watering – 9,696 data breaches resulting in more than 10.7 billion records exposure. Texas ranks third in the list of states nationwide to experience the most cyber attacks.

According to IBM Security, each of the record loss can be estimated to have a monetary impact of $150 – amassing to more than $1.6 trillion. Now, that’s just business loss. The fallout in business reputation, customer trust and more is simply incalculable.

The question is can we really afford to suffer such losses in a climate already fraught with economic uncertainties?

Norton Security estimates that by 2023, we will be experiencing data breaches to the tunes of 33 billion records per year. The situation is particularly dire for small businesses that are most commonly targeted and yet believe that they do not have the wherewithal to protect themselves with enterprise-grade security. 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses and 60% of SMBs that experience a data breach are very likely to go out of business within six months.

 

What is Data Breach?

 

A data breach, or a security incident involves the transgression of a company’s virtual property boundaries where an unauthorized party accesses confidential/ proprietary information. The data can involve anything from secure customer information, business records, intellectual property, internal business data like vendor lists, inventory lists, transaction history, and more privileged information. The compromised data can then be wielded or used in a multitude of ways to hold the company, executives, employees or consumers at ransom.

A data breach is particularly damaging for businesses, as consumers trust them with privileged information assuming that they have the right security structures in place to protect their data. Breaches result in often-irreparable damages to reputation and even lives. Unfortunately, as more and more businesses and consumers move to the digital space, data breaches are projected to skyrocket in the foreseeable future.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

 

The top reasons for data breaches include:

  • Criminal hacking (45%)
  • Human error (22%)
  • Social engineering (22%)
  • Malware (17%)
  • Unauthorised use (8%
  • Physical actions (4%)

However, reports estimate that nearly 93% of business data breaches can result from employees unwittingly engaging with social engineering attacks that cast a wide net.

The situation has become so dire that it may be safe for businesses to assume that they are constantly under attack – whether they have the right security parameters in place or not. The attacks can stem from a number of contexts including:

System vulnerabilities

 

 

There is no cure for human laziness/ carelessness. Despite knowing the extent of danger stemming from cyber attacks, most of us continue to keep and use outdated software (browser, application, OS and more), don’t monitor our systems for security vulnerabilities on a regular basis, have incomplete security patches and more. Each opens up a lucrative node for attackers to tap into by sneaking malware in.

 

Insecure passwords

Still using your birthday as a password? Somewhat ironically, people are more scared of the inconvenience caused by a forgotten password than choosing a perpetually weak one – such as birthdays, names of people they are close to and more. Please use unique, complex passwords and take help of random password generators if you need help. That little bit of extra effort goes a long way in ensuring both your and your organization’s security.

Insecure downloads

Avoid downloading anything in your work/ office device unless cleared by the organization’s IT team. Seemingly innocuous links and attachments – even ones purporting to be for charity/ social work – can be an entry point for dangerous malware and viruses that can cripple not just yours, but a lot of computing units you are connected to in the organizational network.

Targeted attacks

Targeted attacks can use a host of tactics including spam messages, phishing, spear phishing, social engineering and more. The aim is generally to gain a foothold into the organization’s network to not just infect systems with malware, but tap into highly confidential business/ financial information (including credentials) to administer frauds or initiate an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). The latter can be hard to detect and harder to get rid of without compromising your systems/ information.

 

Tips to Prevent Data Breaches In 2021

 

As dire as the consequences of data breaches are, staying on top of security risks, vulnerabilities and stratagem is much easier.

Stay up to date with your cyber security 

Basic security hygiene and employee awareness is now a non-negotiable, irrespective of the size of your business. Get your internal IT team to do this or recruit external technical experts to conduct regular security audits and security training for your employees – in a way that actually engages attention, makes clear the risks and rewards and doesn’t fly over employees’ heads (especially, non-technical staff).

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is now a non-negotiable when it comes to business credentials, especially for employees who handle sensitive business information (including proprietary/ financial information).

Enforce Role-based Access Control (RBAC)

Do not confuse employees with more data responsibility than they should be handling. Limit sensitive information flow with more senior employees and restrict data flow where it’s not relevant. This ensures partitioning of data flow and may restrict damages in case of security incidents.

Remote monitoring

Ensure that an efficient supervision tool constantly monitors your network and data flow. The tool should be able to automatically alert relevant people in case of abnormalities or suspicious activity.

Automation

Keeping up with security vulnerabilities 24*7*365 for years can be a Herculean task for any business to be managed manually. Automation is your friend in tracking security as it can not only lessen the workload on humans, but also automate a lot of lower level security processes and flag incidents immediately to the right people.

Data backup and recovery

Keeping your data secure both in motion and at rest should be of primary concern to any business. Backup Solutions Houston can help you store and manage your data securely and have it always available to you in case of any incident.

Endpoint and edge protection

Protect your data at both endpoints and the edge where it’s processed with the right security solutions provided by security experts. PennComp experts can help you choose the right solutions that can protect your endpoints for years to come.

MDM – Mobile Device Management

With more and more workers accessing business data remotely, mobile device management is absolutely crucial for enterprise data. Make sure you have the right solution for rights management without impacting the end-user device in any way.

Install Firewall Protection

Enterprise firewalls are necessary even with overall security layering. Firewalls act as your organization’s first line of defence against malicious attacks.

Review/Update OS/Software/password

Again a basic hygiene parameter that should never be overlooked. All software/ passwords/ OS eventually become vulnerable without regular security checks, patch implementation and maintenance.

 

Hire Managed IT Services Provider to get 24/7 IT Support

At PennComp, we believe in proactive and preemptive problem solving and equipping our clients with the very best IT advice and service. We are Houston’s premier choice in IT security solutions, as people believe in our incredibly detailed technical audits and long-term solutions. Our IT support experts comprise of some of the most reputed names in cyber security solutions and ethical hacking and we can guarantee to keep your business future-proof in terms of security threats. Please check out our extensive IT services here:

 We know exactly how overwhelming security concerns can become when you already have your hands full developing your product/ service and keeping your business running. Give us a call today for end-to-end managed industry-leading security solutions in Houston, Texas.

Scott Young

Scott Young

Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Support Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott’s expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.