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Equifax Data Breach Teaches Businesses About Digital Security

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Sep 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

The biggest American financial news in recent weeks has to be the stories about hackers who managed to breach Equifax security and steal the sensitive, personal information of 143 million people. Certainly, this crime will cost the credit bureau a lot of money to resolve. They will have to invest to improve security, help protect the victims, and of course, to repair their damaged reputation. It's likely that Equifax will also receive increased scrutiny from the public, the press, and even the government over the next several months.

Why Was the Equifax Data Loss Particularly Bad?

If you're an adult who has ever had loans or credit cards, your data probably got stolen. You may not care that much about the money Equifax has to spend to fix this problem; however, you probably care a lot of how you will be impacted in the future. If you have personal concerns, you can visit this Equifax security page to learn more. The website will tell you if your data may have been compromised and the protections that Equifax will offer impacted consumers.

In some ways, this security breach seemed worse than other large companies that have had personal data lost or stolen. For instance, you can choose to shop at a specific retail chain or to apply for a credit card at a certain bank; but you don't choose to do business with credit bureaus. Because consumers don't really have control over the data that a credit bureau stores,  they may feel even more resentful than they would have if they actually chose to do business with a certain company. Still, a security breach that involves consumer's information never generates good feelings toward the organization with a failed security plan.

What Should Your Business Learn From Equifax?

Every time, business owners learn of the data breach of another large organization, it's time to to see what lessons they can learn about preventing the loss of money and a reputation. As technology evolves, so do security risks.

These are some important takeaways to consider:

Hackers Target All Kinds of Businesses and Organizations

The main thing to learn from this and other cyber crimes is that you should always assume that your business can become a target. For instance, you may think that criminals only target retail businesses because companies like Target, Home Depot, and Taco Bell generated a lot of poor press.

According to a report from  Inc. Magazine:

  • Retail companies with well-known brands tend to get a lot of attention when they are attacked, but retail accounted for a minority of all attacks in the last year.
  • Service businesses accounted for about 45 percent of data breaches last year, manufacturing accounted for 11 percent, and real estate and finance accounted for 22 percent.

You Can Get Help Protecting Your Business

Security has become more complex in recent years. Hackers don't just target PCs and websites these days; they also attack networks, mobile devices, and all sorts of peripheral devices. If you aren't certain that your business is secure, you can bet that it isn't. The IoT, cloud storage, mobile devices, and other new technology isn't just making old technology obsolete; the new technology also makes the security and governance policies of most companies outdated.

These are some steps you might take to protect your company and your customers:

  • Get help from consultants with experience protecting companies like yours in the face of new technology. You might need help with nuts-and-bolts programming for security. It's also likely that you need advice about various policies for employees who use mobile devices or connect peripherals.
  • Consider some of the new third-party authentication services that can help you control access from a central point. For instance, some providers offer SaaS systems that allow you to set access for partners, employees, and customers in one spot.

Find Assistance Managing Risks

If you run a small or medium-sized business, you might already know that you can't possibly invest the same amounts of money in security as global giants. However, you may be able to focus on your risks even better than they do because your business is smaller and more concentrated.

You can get assistance from risk management professionals who specialize in cyber risk; smaller companies might even start working with their insurance companies and agents to assess digital hazards. Part of what insurance companies do is to help their clients assess risks by taking proactive steps and purchasing insurance for things they can't control. You absolutely can't assume that a basic business owner's policy will protect you against data loss or theft.

At ICS, We Can Find You The Right Digital Security People

Proper digital security extends far beyond IT security. You also need to make sure you have help with risk management and setting proper governance policies for all of your devices. At ICS, we can help you relieve concerns over proper business security by finding you the right employees and consultants in IT, finance, risk management, administration, and more. Learn more about our  permanent and flexible staffing solutions. We'd like to invite you to become more familiar with our company in order to protect yours.

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