Data breaches – what you need to know

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A data breach is when someone from outside your business illegally obtains data or information about yourself or your company. This could put your clients at risk of identity theft and fraudulent card transactions. On a larger scale, it can also damage the reputation of your business which could lose the trust of your clients.

What is a data breach?

A data breach occurs when a person has accessed, viewed, or stolen private and sensitive information belonging to you. This can be done physically, such as accessing files on a computer or remotely by bypassing a networks security system. Whether you are a large company or an entrepreneur, your company could be in danger of a data breach.  In fact, in 2017 it was revealed that 46% of all UK businesses identified at least one one cyber security attack or data breach within 12 months.

What puts your company at risk?

If your company practices any of the following then you could be vulnerable to an attack:

  • Using old and outdated software
  • Using the same Point of Sale system across all of your locations
  • Not monitoring computer systems regularly
  • Not updating information encryption
  • Insecure login credentials

How can you prepare yourself against an attack?

The most obvious way to protect and prepare yourself is to make sure that the methods listed above are working and regularly monitored.  This may involve consulting with IT professionals, who specialise in preventing data breaches.

But overall, one the strongest and simplest ways to protect yourself is to use a strong password for each account that you access.

What to do if you are attacked

Sometimes, data breaches can still happen even if you have followed the right procedures, if a data breach does occur within your company, then the following questions should be answered immediately:

  • What is the scope of the data breach?
  • What types of information were compromised or stolen?
  • Was the breach an accident or done illegally?
  • What are your regulatory and legal obligations and who must you notify?

Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, which is why cyber insurance is important for many businesses.

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