For every business, regardless of how small or big, data loss prevention must be an essential component of its business policies.
The one drawback with centralizing all the businesses data into computers is security. Though your business server maybe secure, there are always threats that can literally cripple your business in minutes. Big businesses like Amazon and, Yahoo!, have had to face security breaches of their data and, even government agencies like the NHS have had to deal with the hassle of data leakages.
The BBC reported in 2011, that security breaches which caused business firms to lose data due to neglect or malice in the form of hacking, viruses, hardware failures etc., is costing them almost 1.9m pounds annually.
The Threat of Data Loss
Data Loss and security breaches is the most talked about issue in any business today. Security issues impact every user of technology and, threaten every network, in every organization.
As technology becomes more sophisticated so do cyber-criminals and, the latest reports suggest that physical endpoints have to be included in every data security infrastructure. Many businesses have anti-virus software like Symantec installed and, consider that enough protection. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Data Breach Entry Points
- E-mail attachments
- Instant messenger file transfers
- File Sharing
- File Downloads
- Web browsing
- Keyboard use
Causes of Data Loss
Virus - This is the most common threat to data loss. It may be malicious as in slowing down servers or more destructive, deleting files, damaging data, or erasing entire disk drives.
Computer worms - The entry of worms into the system can not only slow down the system but, can actually render it useless. They work on the backend and, can become a doorway for viruses and, Trojans to enter as well.
Trojans -This is a malicious application that can make your computer vulnerable to hacking and, data breaches. They come in the form of relevantly harmless offers and, enter the computer making it vulnerable to other malware and, security breaches.
This is a program that can be run by remote servers and, simply copies the entries made by keyboards to send the data to the hacker. A complete log of the keys used is made. This is how personal data like passwords and other sensitive information is transmitted outside the database.
This is a form of spam where individuals act like legitimate services and, try to gather secure information. The links/e-mails look authentic, but when you click on the link or contact them, they can send out viruses, or use secure data for their own nefarious purposes.
Hackers and Employee Breaches
While hackers may use malware to breach your computers security, employees may do it unknowingly. They may open an e-mail, log on to an unsecure website or simply transfer data insecurely allowing, malicious malware or hackers an entry point into your system.
This may include loss of hardware, destruction of hardware, fire hazard etc.
Consequences of Data Loss
The threat of data loss and, security breach for any business can be catastrophic. Studies have shown that if a business has a security breach causing data loss, and the problems lasts for more than 10 days; 50% of the companies will be out of business within 5 years.
Further, the financial, legal and, social consequences can be irreversible. Not to long agao, HM Revenue and Customs [HMRC] lost two data discs that had perosnal details of 25 million people. A review showed this was due to a systemic failure of the department system. The department is still trying to deal with the legal impications caused due to the loss, the social embarassment, loss of reputation and, finally trying to garner the financial consequences.
According to statistics the average cost to a small to medium enterprise in the UK if attacked by a virus, can be anything fromm 800-850 pounds in around 7-8 hours. Further, the company will take liablity of loss as the Data Protection Act of 1998, states, “You must safeguard your own or anyone else's data, by appropriate precautions against loss, corruption or unauthorized disclosure”
The problem with most businesses is while they have changed the data handling techniques they have not changed the procedure for security. They assume an anti-virus software, will protect their company network from all threats.
The Bottom Line of Data Loss Security
While, data loss can be caused by anyhing from human error, to malware, with the right tools 89% of data can be recovered. However, you must have the correct solution in place in the form of complete data security.
The right data security solution will allow your company to have:
- Protection against hackers
- Protection against malware and, phishing
- It will help create a back-up of all data
- Monitor all activities for potential threats
- Educate employees to look out for threats
- Automatic enforcement of data protection within the network and, at end-points to ensure no data loss takes place.
Consider the data breaches that caused WikiLeaks in 2010. It cost upto millions of dollars loss and, compromised thousands of files. Your business may not be that big, but neither can it afford to take the loss of files, data, security and, reputation if your data security is breached.