Do you know the average cost of a data breach in 2018? If your business manages any type of proprietary information, whether paper or digital, you should. Every year the Ponemon Institute releases their “Cost of a Data Breach Study” where they analyze the lasting cost and impact of information security breaches. According to the report, in 2017 the average cost came in at about $141.00 per data record. For many businesses it’s not just about the initial dollars lost, it’s also worth weighing the cost of legal ramifications, lowered brand reputation, and presumed loss of customers whether they were affected or not.
In 2017 Ponemon identified 3 key factors as the root cause of a vast majority of data breaches. The largest cause was malicious or criminal attacks, coming in at 52%. These breaches are the result of intentional efforts to capture secure information, whether through hacking, phishing scams, or theft of files, these people are looking for holes in your system that they can take advantage of. The other two major contributors were cited as system glitches or human error coming in at 24% each. While these minor slip ups might be few and far between, it only takes one incident to compromise your systems.
Graph: Ponemon– 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study
If you’re looking to improve your information security processes in 2018, here are 5 easy steps you can take:
- Stay Informed:
It might be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay on top of recent breaches and security threats, as well as what steps you can take or what processes you can put into place to protect your organization from those threats. Staying informed will also help you with our second suggestion.
- Raise Awareness: Education is key, so raising employee awareness of common threats like email phishing scams, entering personal information on public devices, or not securing computers, electronic devices and files when you are away from your desk are a great start to ensuring that your employees know the risks and what they can do to protect information better
- Be prepared:
No one wants a Data Breach to occur, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan in place in the event that one does. According to Ponemon, in 2017 it took an average of 191 days to detect a breach and another 66 to contain it, so the sooner you can put an action plan into place, the better off you will be.
- Improve Security Measures: Take steps to improve your security measures of digital and hard-copy information. Make sure you use secure passwords to protect your information and that access to servers and hard-drives is restricted to only those people who need access to secure information. Store paper files in secure cabinets or rooms, or in a secure off-site storage facility.
- Make Destruction a Priority: If you are managing secure information you should have a process in place to manage the destruction of that data at the end of its useful life. This includes digital archives, as well as paper. Partner with a company, like Augusta Data Storage, who can help manage your routine document shredding or annual purge projects for paper records as well as provide you with safe and secure solutions for destroying your outdated electronic devices through our e-waste shredding
[Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal advice. Should you need legal advice regarding document retention and secure shredding polices, please seek the appropriate legal counsel.]