Are businesses really prepared for a data breach?

by Mark Rowe

In 2017 almost half (42pc) of SMBs (small and medium businesses) experienced at least one data breach even though a majority (72pc) were sure they were reliably protected from such incidents, according to a Kaspersky Lab report, ‘From data boom to data doom: the risks and rewards of protecting personal data’.

To stay afloat small organisations need to keep up with their competitors and roll out new products or services quickly. The use of digital tools is instrumental in making this happen – to enable collaboration, project management and planning and for interacting with customers. To be successful the tools must work properly and be accessible to every employee who needs them. This is why companies strive to maintain the continuity of these crucial business processes. Indeed, when it comes to IT security, one of the main concerns for 40pc of businesses is the loss of access to internal and customer-facing services.

As well as access to services the data that underpins them is an important part of sales and planning, including analytics and customer information. According to the study most companies (94pc) store financial reports as well as personal customer data — such as account numbers (80pc), and bank card data (78pc) – on employee devices, internal servers and in public clouds.

However, this abundance of data also brings increased risk of compromise. While it appears that organisations are prepared for this – 72pc of small and medium-sized businesses are confident that they are well or perfectly equipped in terms of data protection – this sense of security seems to be exaggerated. In 2017, 42pc of SMBs suffered at least one incident affecting data security, with over a quarter (27pc) of companies experiencing between two and five breaches. In more than 40pc of cases it is customers’ personal data stored within the organisation that is affected as a result of these incidents.

David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab UK, pictured, said: “Digital transformation gives small and medium sized companies new opportunities for growth. Collaboration services and other digital applications can have a huge impact upon efficiencies and long-term business success. But to ensure they are not adding a layer of vulnerability and risk into the organisation, it is vital to think about their security and that of the data they hold. As IT infrastructures become more complex, businesses can lose control over their data. To prevent growing organisations from falling victim to accidental breaches or planned attacks, IT security needs to become just as much a key to success as financial, legal and personnel considerations.”

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