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Risks of Data Breach to Utah Companies – and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to business cybersecurity and related solutions used to protect your company, one of the primary goals is preventing data breaches and data loss. Phishing, ransomware and other hacking methods are often undertaken in an effort to breach and steal important areas of data, and this can have multiple negative impacts on your business if it happens.

At Onward Technology, we're proud to provide a wide range of IT support services to clients throughout Utah, including a full suite of network security and related solutions to protect you from data breach and related risks. How will a data breach negatively impact your organization if it takes place, and what are some basic strategies our team will work with you on for preventing such breaches? Here's a primer.

Financial Impact of Data Breaches

First and foremost, your organization is at risk of major financial costs if a data breach takes place. A single data breach can result in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars lost, and this is mainly because you'll have to work with various investigative teams to fix the problem and restore access to necessary areas of your network.

This can take months before it's done, so not only will you be out the money spent on the data breach itself, but also the lost productivity and other associated costs. In some cases, you may even be forced to file for bankruptcy due to the sheer magnitude of the financial hit.

There are also several other hidden costs involved here, such as fines, legal fees, public relations, regulatory punitive measures and more. It's not uncommon for organizations that don't properly protect themselves to be fined for data breaches, especially in the case of sensitive data (consider Equifax, which was fined over $700 million in 2019 due to a data breach of user accounts).

Reputational Impact of Data Breaches

Beyond the raw dollars and cents, a significant data breach in your organization risks the strong potential of harming your organization's reputation. This is another major unknown cost, but one that can be very difficult to measure or recover from.

If you're forced to notify customers (or worse -- the general public) that there has been a data breach, this could cause clients to flee your business and avoid your products and services at all costs. It could also lead to a loss of trust in your brand, and this can be very difficult to rebuild. In some cases, data breaches have even led to the closure of businesses altogether, largely due to the fact that major chunks of their customer base fled to avoid being compromised.

Loss of Intellectual Property

Furthermore, a major data breach presents the risk of information like product blueprints, business strategies, client lists and more being stolen by nefarious actors. This can lead to a loss of competitive advantage, as your competitors may now have access to the same information that you worked hard to build and protect.

In some cases, this stolen data can even be sold on the black market or used to blackmail your organization into surrendering important areas of data. This can also lead to a loss of intellectual property, which makes this yet another negative cost that's difficult to measure.

Avoiding Common Threats and Data Breaches

To prevent any of the above from happening to your organization, it's vital to protect your business. Here are some of the basic steps involved in doing so, plus how our team will assist you within each of them:

  • Planning: As part of your basic network setup, you should be taking the time to plan out the different security measures that you'll need to take as a business owner. This should include things like building an awareness program, putting together policies, developing a countermeasure environment and more.
  • Education: Once your network is set up and secured for basic threats, it's time to educate your employees on how to spot dangers at work. This means teaching them about the common threats you need to be safeguarding against, so they can get used to keeping an eye out for suspicious messages and data.
  • Training: Once your employees are aware of potential risks (and how to spot them), you'll want to further train them on the types of messages that may contain dangerous links or malware. This will allow them to recognize the signs and avoid clicking on suspicious links or files that could result in a data breach.
  • Assess weak points: If you're looking to update an existing cybersecurity plan, the primary method here will be to evaluate your weak points. This includes looking at your business processes, endpoints and user behavior to see where you may be most vulnerable to an attack.
  • Remediate: Once you have an idea of the issues your security setup is facing, you can take several steps to remediate them. This includes everything from better policies and network access to specific countermeasures, checking for viruses and removing malware, etc.
  • Test new programs: Anytime you've altered your cybersecurity program in any way, it's vital to run basic tests to make sure that your setup now has the coverage it needs to avoid any breaches. These tests may range from simulated phishing attacks to actually breaking into your systems to see what can be accessed.
  • Continued management: Finally, this should be an ongoing process. You have never "solved" cybersecurity; rather, you should always be looking for ways to continue improving your defenses against constantly-evolving data breach attack attempts.

For more on how data breaches impact your business and how to avoid them, or to learn about any of our managed IT or IT support services in Utah, speak to the team at Onward Technology today.

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