Beware the breach: why the concern?

Beware the breach
Beware the breach

It is vital that companies as a whole have an awareness of the potential breaches that may take place and what this can mean to business.

In the past year there has been a significant increase in the number of security breached in both small and larger companies. According to the Price Waterhouse Cooper’s (PwC) 2015 Information breached survey 74 per cent of small businesses had reported some level of breach in either their computer system or network. This is a significant increase for the 60 per cent reported only a year ago.

So why the concern?

Irrespective of company size, breaches in cyber security will always have a dramatic impact on both long-term finances and business image. Firms such as Apple and Sony as well as PC World have all recently been victims of criminal cyber activity.

In November 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment had their business network attacked by a cyber group called Guardians of the Peace. Although to this day there has been no confirmation of who the group was, they managed to erase the company’s email communication and steal the social security numbers of 47,000 employees.

In a similar vein, extra-marital meet-up site Ashley Madison had its client list, including email addresses and bank account details, hacked in a well-publicised and highly unnerving manner. The group threatened to release the data unless the website was removed and, when the brand refused to do so, these details appeared on the dark web.

The increasing media coverage and public discussion of cyber security issues has also created a culture of suspicion among potential consumers handling digital transactions. According to a recent survey by Elitetele many consumers have serious concerns regard card payments over brands – particularly smaller companies – taking payments over the phone and feel that data today is no safer than five years previous.

A further 10 per cent also believe that small businesses are likely to receive attention from potential cyber criminals and that they may not be up to date with compliance standards.

Data from Aon Risk Solutions also shows that in many cases SMEs aren’t taking these concerns seriously. While 46 per cent of small businesses in the past six months suffered from IT and network security breaches, only 27 per cent of those surveyed had implemented plans to protect the company from illegal cyber activity.

In the next instalment of our cyber security series, we take a look at what preventative measures you can take to defend your business…