How a data breach affects a company?

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You start out your Enterprise business with the latest cutting edge technology, employing a whole world of the breathtaking frontend, critical security issues, SEO and what not. You also deploy the same over some popular IaaS provider. So far so good, but a couple of days later, a piece of dreaded hit you and it hit hard. Your beloved domain gets featured on news feeds and most of the users’ data have been compromised with. A couple of sleepless nights now follow suit.

Let’s look holistically how and what happened and what you can do to overcome these.

First things first, what actually is a Data Breach?

Going by the definition of a Data Breach, as provided by NortonA data breach is a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization. Data breaches can hurt businesses and consumers in a variety of ways. They are a costly expense that can damage lives and reputations and take time to repair”.

What all could be stolen?

A whole lot of private as well as professional details could be parted with as a result breach of personal information. Some of these may be:

  • Member name - Name of the victim (whose details are compromised with)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Member identification number
  • Email address
  • Mailing and/or physical address
  • Telephone number
  • Banking account number
  • Payment or transaction related information
  • Clinical information
  • Claims information
  • Any other personal information

These different details are just some of the superficial details that could be undermined. In some cases, user’s behavior, the pattern of usage or extra details pertaining to the same user could be extracted to meet the end goals of the hacker.

From where could it be stolen?

Different sources yield different information. The following are examples of common targets:

  • Business: Maybe in the form of Mobile App Vendor, Content Aggregator, Retailer or what not.
  • Medical/Healthcare: Limitless possibilities, beginning from patient records, to doctor prescription, etc.
  • Government: Personal data stored with the government.
  • Banking and Financial Sector
  • Education

Implications of the same on Business and Companies

Losing or compromising your beloved customer’s data

When someone does business with you, they not only come to you for the sake of the business proposition, but mutual trust is also ensured between the two entities. This ensures both the parties mutually benefit from each other in the times to come. The trust comes inevitably and without any extra bindings in all cases, along with the business. Both are intertwined.

The mere thought of the data of millions of your customer’s data in the hands of thieves could scare any amount of customers and businesses alike into dealing further with you. Ultimately, trust is lost in the long run in such cases.

Losing the data and the trust of the customers is a 2 step process, both of which follow one another. Hence, to have a sustained relationship, it’s very important to cling to your data, and have absolute control over it, and report breach of privacy in a timely manner.

Part away with your employee data

The important people that build your enterprise are your employees. You’ve been warned over and over again that your employees’ behavior can have a big impact on data security in your organization. Social engineering is one of the most common and effective ways of gaining unauthorized access to classified information. Hence the need of the hour is that security procedures and processes should be just as stringent for both employees’ and customers’ information.

In many data breach cases we can also deal with internal security concerns within the organization itself, owing to weak firewall rules, or some backdoors being left intentionally for the profit of some concerned people or group of people. Hence, the emphasis should be to distinctly demarcate the boundaries between the two, so that there is no security breach.

Lose money, like a lot of money

With trust comes a name, and with a good name, comes business. With good business, ultimately comes revenue for the organization. The better products you deliver to the customers, and the more consistent you become in ensuring the quality of the same, the better your business will be.

Needless to say, a bad name to your business can ruin your image in the whole of the corporate world. So the next time a customer will have to think twice before they opt for you, over your competitor. And this is really bad for your long term business and it can take a toll on the account very severely. Over and above this, your own organization wallet and credentials also, in most probability be exposed directly to the attackers, thus affecting you not indirectly, but directly.

Physical data could be the front facing side of the catastrophe

The invaluable data stored in your physical servers is one of the most important assets for your organization and your customers alike. Preserving them and ensuring it doesn’t fall in wrong hands is the trust the customers have when they entrust you with their data. Also, timely backing up of the data to some known secure service in case of other options, or even maintaining several copies of the same data ensures that the data remains accessible at all times.

Over 70% of businesses involved in a major incident either do not reopen or fail within three years of an incident occurring. Remember to keep your infrastructure safe at all times to avoid being forced out of business by cyberthieves. So the main point is to both keep a backup at all times and also working in the background to foil any attempt to gain access to the data by the hackers.

The dreadful downtime after data breach

You have a business running to ensure that customers are always entertained at all points of time. In line with it, businesses and organizations spend a lot of their time and money ensuring they remain visible and have a positive perception online. Unfortunately, once they are targeted by cyber criminals who use sophisticated systems to execute data attacks, that time and effort is worthless.

However the good news is that most downturns for firms and organizations are usually caused by data breaches and cyber attacks that could have been prevented. According to 90% of CEOs, striving to rebuild commercial trust among stakeholders after a breach is one of the most difficult tasks to achieve for any company – regardless of their revenue. Therefore, all efforts should be made to avoid such silly mistakes at all times.

These are just some of the measures where a firm could be hit by a data breach incident. However, the span could be in any direction, depending on the area where the affected sector is, and the further course of action thereafter.