There are some simple measures that can be put in place before a data breach occurs and in the event a breach takes place.
Cyber security dominated the headlines in October following the high-profile cyber-attack on telecommunications company TalkTalk. Yet this is just one example in a growing number of cases. Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show a huge increase in reported instances of cyber crime in the UK, estimating that 2.5 million incidents of crime fell under the Computer Misuse Act in the past year. If further evidence were needed, cyber risk is ranked as a tier-one threat by the UK National Security Strategy and is a key priority in the National Crime Agency’s current annual plan.
Most businesses hold information that is valuable to someone, somewhere. In almost every business that information is held, accessed and shared electronically. Any business that has an online footprint or computer network is at risk of those systems and networks being compromised by someone who wants to get their hands on that valuable data. That risk is only heightened by the increased use of cloud computing, smartphones and bring-your-own-device policies. As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, the reality is that no organisation or individual is safe.
Hackers are now targeting business information, which could include confidential data concerning property deals, planned M&A strategies, purchase bids and other financial arrangements. They are not just after the personal data held with banks or stored in sale and rental databases.
However, it is only as larger organisations continue to fall victim to large-scale cyber-attacks that the realisation begins to dawn: this is a threat to be taken very seriously. It may only be once a large company has been completely brought down by a cyber-attack that individuals will fully deploy the safeguards available to them and their business.
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