October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, with businesses focusing on their protection strategies throughout the next few weeks and hopefully strengthening the security within their IT systems. Recent data breaches, however, place a stark contrast on what needs to be done for cybersecurity purposes and what vulnerabilities still exist within enterprise systems.
According to 24/7 Wallstreet contributor Paul Ausick, the credit reporting company Experian announced the first week of October 2015 that almost 15 million people had confidential data, including Social Security numbers, accessed in a data breach affecting the wireless carrier T-Mobile U.S. Inc. In addition, Ausick reported, retail brokerage firm Scottrade announced that 5 million people had been affected by a similar breach. These organizations have offered free credit monitoring to customers whose records were accessed, but is it too little, too late?
Costs continue to increase
The events of the first week of October demonstrate that companies have a long way to go in terms of protecting their data. The motivation to strengthen cybersecurity efforts is certainly there. The cost of a data breach, for instance, keeps going up. Earlier in 2015, IBM and the Ponemon Institute released the tenth annual Cost of Data Breach Study, which found the total consolidated cost of a data breach to be $3.8 million. This number represents an increase of 23 percent since 2013. The research firm indicated that the average cost incurred for each stolen record or piece of data rose from $145 to $154.
As these numbers continue to rise, it’s crucial for businesses to take a step back and ensure their systems are secure. After all, the confidential information stored within an organization’s computing infrastructure is often mission-critical or customer-related – but a breach of either can represent difficulties in the long run for your company, especially with the expensive nature of these attacks.
The dangers of malware
Malicious programs, called malware, come in many forms. Ransomware locks your system until you pay a certain amount, usually in Bitcoin, to unlock it. Compounding the stress of ransomware is the fact that sometimes, victims have paid ransoms and the hackers still refuse to unlock the files. Spyware tracks your computer activities and transmits confidential data to external users. Trojan horses, according to TechTarget, infiltrate systems by hiding in seemingly harmless code and then wreaking havoc on your hard drive. The list goes on.
The consequences of system vulnerability can be disastrous for companies. Beyond the obvious cost incurred by a data breach, brand reputation may be on the line if customers are adversely impacted by such an event. Word of mouth spreads quickly, and it may cause some potential clients to be reluctant to do business with certain organizations in the future.
How do you protect your system?
IT managers should take the time to ensure their cybersecurity systems are provided adequate protection. When it comes to keeping computers free of malicious programs, anti-virus software like the kind offered by Faronics can help organizations strengthen their endpoint security and make sure malware doesn’t infiltrate the network.
If malware manages to get past any anti-virus software into vulnerable systems, it’s crucial to purge the infection and get networks back up and running again. Investing in a solution like Deep Freeze from Faronics could be the answer to malware-related IT problems. Security is important, but the ability to get your system up and running again post-infection is crucial. Deep Freeze, a reboot to restore software, resets your system configurations to what they were before the malware wormed its way into your IT infrastructure, bringing your network back online with snapshot technology.
Contact Faronics today to see how we can help you strengthen your cybersecurity strategies and further protect your computer systems.