This year was no stranger to data breaches. Some of the most well-known organizations like Michaels Stores, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and Goodwill Industries were in the spotlight for compromising customer’s identities and credit card data. Even the aftermath of the late 2013 major Target breach trickled into 2014.
In many cases these breaches happen for reasons that are totally avoidable and preventable, for example a company not having adequate security measures in place. This was actually the case for both Target and Home Depot. It’s when companies assume that their information is “safe enough” that they become unsuspecting that something of this magnitude could happen to them.
Hackers, cyber-criminals, pirates, call them what you will, these are highly trained, well paid professionals who are extremely good at what they do. By installing malicious software, or malware, on systems like cash registers, point-of-sale machines and internal networks, hackers can trace payment data and sensitive information. Massive data breaches have succeeded and intensified because these individuals are getting more knowledgeable and better with every hack. They have access to markets that enable them to make a profit off stolen information, which creates a dangerous persistence to get their hands on the most valuable data.
So, what should companies do to better protect themselves? It’s suggested that some businesses are putting too much attention on external forces when affiliates of the company are actually a much bigger threat. In order to prevent insiders from orchestrating data breaches, companies should be focused on security awareness and strategies. This includes everything from monitoring employees’ use of the system, familiarizing them with how to notice abnormal behavior and ways to eliminate mistakes that can make a breach easier to carry out. Have strict user policies to prevent employees from accidentally stumbling on malicious or compromised websites. Perform regular assessments and security scans. These can’t be done too frequently.
Whether it’s an actual increase in data breaches, or that companies are just more aware that they’ve been hacked, it doesn’t matter. Not only do these data breaches cost organizations generous amounts of money in recovery, but they paint the notion the business can’t be trusted with secure information. To learn more about the security measures that we take at ILM to keep your information safe, contact us today!