Cybersecurity is the array of measures you take to protect yourself from unauthorized access to your information systems. Cybersecurity for companies has been gaining attention with the increased use of computerized technology. When a system is breached, the unauthorized use has the potential to cause damage, sometimes compromising the information of millions of users of the affected network.  

Some prominent hacking stories have run rampant in news outlets. According to Risk Based Security, "...there were eight massive data breaches in the first half of 2019, which accounted for the compromise of 3.2 billion records. Three of these eight data breaches are the largest breaches of all time, with one of them being related to the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA)."

Security Breaches Can Lead to Loss Of Customers

Not only do these breaches threaten personal privacy and information like phone numbers and emails, they threaten our financial accounts, our social security numbers, and locations of residence.  

For a company who uses an information system to use and store records, this becomes a serious issue. The occurrence of a security breach where private records were possibly stolen is the last thing a customer wants to hear about. This could result in the loss of customers for the business. With enough attacks, the business itself could become obsolete.   

Unfortunately, business hacks make up the largest portion of security breaches. According to Risk Based Security, "The 'MidYear Data Breach QuickView Report' disclosed that the business sector accounted for 67% of reported breaches. The sector was also responsible for exposing 84.6% of the total records."  

With such a heavy number of data breaches, businesses need to be proactive with their defenses. Following security protocols will help reduce the chance of a security breach occurring.  

Reduce Cyber Risks

Though it may not be possible to prevent all cyber-attacks, it is within the company's responsibility to take measured, responsible precautions. Taking the time to train employees on what a hack may look like may be one of the first things you can do to reduce cyber-attacks. Detecting threats early can help decrease the amount of damage. Prevention is key in helping reduce likelihood of attacks as well. Keep your operating systems up to date, use encryption software to protect information, and use strong passwords that change often. These steps are good preventative measures.

During the attack, disconnect the network connection if possible. Clean and check your system after a reboot. Make sure your IT officer is aware of the situation. Check for emails that are fishy, and other out-of-the-ordinary occurrences.

Report The Incident

After the attack, file a report by contacting local and federal agencies, especially if you have social security numbers, or other federal information stored.

In the event that your business is attacked, you will also need to let your customers know whether or not their personal information was accessed. Even if you aren't sure, it's essential that you let them know. Many companies do this through email. If you have customers in the European Union, you are obliged to inform them in a timely manner when a data breach has occurred under the new GDPR law.

As technology continues to advance, it will be important for us to continue to try and stay ahead in the world of information systems. It's possible to operate a business efficiently, while protecting your customers at the same time.

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