Are online shoppers so used to Data Breaches that they are considering them the new norm?
For many people, data breaches have become a regular news occurrence. They’re now as common as natural disasters and street crime, making them a fact to ignore until it happens to them personally. Yet business owners need to keep in account the various threats out there and what the potential consequences are should a data breach under their watch. Will your clients and customers be angry or accepting of what happened? Angry. And you’ll be legally and financially responsible.
One of the harbingers of this new age of large scale data breaches and identity theft is the Target hack, in which millions of customers’ information was stolen from Target to be potentially used for criminal gains. Customers trusted a large organization that was supposed to be competent with data security, and the organization failed. Attacks have only gotten more frequent and dangerous since then, with many people getting letters or emails from businesses and even healthcare providers stating that their data might be at risk and they should be on alert.
This has led to people always being on alert regarding data security, meaning that it is difficult for businesses who don’t pay attention to succeed. People will now think twice before buying a product online because they may be concerned about a data breach. You need to know how to counter this.
The public opinion, regardless of where it stands, does not change the fact that you have an obligation to keep your customers safe. If you have a business of your own, you will want to take note of the following tips:
- The vast majority of data breaches are caused by human error, so make sure all of your employees are trained in at least basic information security and know when to get a professional.
- Millions of attacks and attempted scams occur every single day, so you need to get out of your head that it is unlikely to happen to your business. It can, and it likely will.
- You and your employees are vulnerable outside of the office, considering that smartphones and laptops will likely have work information. You should have them equipped with the right tools, such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and online security suites.
- Hire or consult a professional if at all possible. You can train yourself well in basic defense, but hackers are professionals, and they require a defense set up by someone of the same skill level.
Are Companies Responsible?
In the court of law, the jury is in some cases literally still out on that one, but it isn’t looking good for businesses. Negligence has been proven in certain cases, and the damages are to a point where many smaller companies wouldn’t be able to survive. The cost on the black market for a set of someone’s data is around 50 dollars, depending on how complete the set is and how valuable the target is, but courts won’t think that low. They aren’t accepting hackers as the norm.
In the matter of public opinion, it seems to be a similar case. Recent public reaction to data breaches has usually come along the lines of people calling for resignations and calling for justice from the companies that held their data. Some are angry at the hackers as well, but it appears that people are regarding them almost as unavoidable forces of nature that must be guarded against. Only by justifiably showing that every reasonable precaution was taken and that the breach was not the fault of a company employee could a business hope to not lose public image over a data breach. They are seeing hackers as the new norm, but not data breaches.
Do you have any thoughts on how businesses should handle the threats of cybercrime? Do you have any experiences of your own to share? Please leave a comment below and share with us your thoughts.
About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a writer and online security expert working on behalf of Secure Thoughts, an internet security website whose main focus is keeping everyday people safe from threats such as identity theft and the kind of data breaches mentioned above.