With only a few weeks left in 2015, the world seems poised to finally be able to cap off a year plagued by high-profile data breaches. A recent report by the Identify Theft Resource Center found that, as of November 24, 2015, more than 690 breaches have been confirmed, leaving 176 million records compromised in the United States alone. It is worth drawing attention to an important word in that sentence: confirmed. We simply have no idea how many more incidents have occurred that have gone unreported, but it’s safe to say that the number is probably somewhere between the stratosphere and the moon.
Under-Reported But Still Dangerous
This hesitancy in reporting concrete statistics may seem like it is based solely around large companies trying to cover their tracks. Companies like Sony Pictures and Target have been brutally attacked and left for dead in recent years, but there are plenty more that have attempted to contain the damage and done so with various levels of effectiveness. Sure, these occurrences should be of major concern to companies and consumers alike, but the threat to small businesses is, for whatever reason, seemingly not taken as seriously as it should be.
For a hacker, being able to crack the security of a major corporation is like winning the lottery. And quite frankly, it should be; the larger the risk, the larger the reward. Small businesses may feel like they are insignificant enough to not warrant attention from hackers, but it is this false sense of security that marks the beginning of the end.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
If attempting to hack a large corporation is like playing Mega Millions, hacking small businesses is like rifling through scratch-offs. Sure, the payoff isn’t as large, but the risk is far lower and the odds of success are increased exponentially. Attempting to take down a major company may be comparable to storming the beach at Normandy, while stealing personal information and financial data from a small, unprotected company is like taking candy from a baby. And if the threat is coming from an employee already within the system, the act of stealing company information is easier than ever.
For many companies, investing in security and monitoring systems may feel like an unnecessary expense that does not have a direct, immediate impact on business. Truth be told, though, a security system is similar to personal health insurance; it may not be utilized often, but should a catastrophic incident occur, the costs associated with not having it are enough to be absolutely crippling. Even if a business is able to find the money to pay for damages associated with a data breach, it cannot buy back the trust of its customers; that bridge has been scorched.
A Lack Of Effort Is Not Tolerated
Though some organizations will argue that they simply don’t have the funds or resources to put into proper data security, the state of doing business in 2015 means that blissful optimism is no longer an option. All organizations have a responsibility to guard the information of their employees and customers, and if they aren’t able to put sufficient money and energy into maintaining security, then they simply have no right to do business on a local or global scale.
While all of this talk may seem like we are nearing a future where small businesses won’t be able to survive, the reality can be simpler and cheaper than might be initially believed. A User Monitoring solution can provide a company of ten employees just as much protection from insider threats as a company that employs thousands. Not only that, but the cost is entirely proportionate, allowing small businesses to pay to protect only the machines they have.
Proper defense against security threats doesn’t have to be expensive, which is certainly welcome news considering that security threats aren’t going anywhere in 2016.