Think about all the recent cyber breach announcements that have occurred in just the past few weeks. Probably the most well-known is the Equifax breach, which resulted in the release of half of Americans’ consumer credit-related data. Verizon’s subscriber information was posted on an unsecured Amazon file server. Deloitte experienced an email hack which resulted in a breach of confidential client data, and Whole Foods’ customer credit card data in some of its stores was compromised. These are just a few of the announcements that have been made recently.
Given the frequency with which we now hear about these incidents, is there a chance that we are becoming desensitized?
From a social psychology standpoint, there is a good chance of becoming desensitized when we hear about something repeatedly. Cyber breaches are no exception. And this potential desensitization could have impacts on both a personal and a business level. So before you find yourself tuning out the news altogether, make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your business from a potential breach.
From a personal standpoint, a cyber breach can mean the exposure of your personal identifiable information (PII), your banking and financial data, and your personal email communications. You can limit your PII exposure by subscribing to credit monitoring services such as Life Lock and Trans Union. These services alert you if an attempt is made to open a new credit account in your name. Using technologies such as double factor authentication can help you better secure your bank accounts, reducing the chances of unauthorized access and transfers of funds. Strengthening your email account passwords can go a long way in preventing a hacker from making your personal emails public, which could have an embarrassing and sometimes devastating impact on your reputation and relationships.
When it comes to your business, things get more complicated. The release of your company’s confidential information could lead to a loss of customers and suppliers and result in potential litigation. Furthermore, a shutdown of your daily operational systems could result in financial hardships for the organization that would impact the livelihood of your employees, not to mention tarnish your brand and reputation.
Achieving a secure workplace is much more complicated than securing your personal information. Your organization likely uses a number of systems, and your employees use these systems in various ways. Critical information is stored not only on different computers, but also on various types of media ranging from paper to memory sticks and mobile devices. To properly protect your organization, you need to create an information security culture backed by proper IT and business process mechanisms that are reviewed, updated, and validated on a regular basis.