Data Breaches Got You Spooked? Here's What to Do

October 31, 2019 Adrian Kruschke

There’s a chill in the air. You can hear the wind howling through the trees. You have a sense that someone, or something, is lurking in the shadows.

And you’re absolutely right.

Scary things are just around the corner, but we're not talking about Halloween ghosts and goblins!

It seems there isn’t a single day goes by without at least one headline about a data breach or ransomware attack.

For all organizations, cybersecurity threats are increasing in scope, variety, and sophistication. With that comes the fear of the unknown—and the all-too-real possibility that it’s their turn to be attacked.

If your organization is like most, you not only worry about becoming the next cyberattack victim, but you won't know what to do if you're compromised. The situation becomes even scarier when you don't have IT professionals on staff with the needed skills and expertise in cybersecurity.

Should You Be Worried About Being Next?

During one eerie week this October, headlines about data breaches included:

  • A nationwide on-demand food delivery company
  • A county in Minnesota
  • A regional healthcare provider in Montana
  • A North Carolina health system
  • An email service provider
  • Several leading VPN companies
  • A major mobile/social game developer
  • A hotel chain's reservation system

Even one of the web's largest marketplaces for stolen credit cards was hacked during that week. And this is just a partial list of attacks over a period of a few days, which doesn't even include numerous stories about data breach-related lawsuits!

The number may sound high, yet it feels like a typical week.

Consider this: According to a recent report, 78% or surveyed organizations were negatively impacted by a successful cyberattack in 2019.

Another study found that 3,813 breaches were reported during the first half of this year, with a total of more than 4.1 billion records exposed. That translates into an average of about 21 breaches a day. Given these statistics, it's easy to understand why organizations are spooked.

How to Overcome Your Cybersecurity Fears

While you prepare for the neighborhood ghosts and witches on Halloween by stocking up on candy treats, you need to prepare for cyberattackers by employing a few tricks of your own. These basic steps will help make cybersecurity less scary:

  • Keep your systems and applications up to date with regular patching. Malicious actors often access systems by exploiting weaknesses in outdated software and firmware.
  • Use strong passwords and change any default vendor passwords. Whenever possible, enable multifactor authentication, especially for critical systems.
  • Back up data, configurations, and system images. Store your backups in a secure offline area or—if you use a cloud backup—ensure it includes proper security measures such as encryption.
  • Limit access privileges to sensitive data based on individual roles. Don't give anyone more access than they absolutely need for their job.
  • Educate employees about social engineering, phishing, and other threats that target users. Your user-awareness training program should also include simulated phishing exercises.
  • Create an incident response plan so you know what to do during a security event. Involve stakeholders across different teams.

Where to Find Help—and Peace of Mind

Before malicious actors come trick or treating, explore the resources that will help protect you. Here are a few:

For really scary situations, you need experts who can protect you 24x7, as well as advise you on ways to improve your cybersecurity posture. A SOC-as-a-service can alleviate your cybersecurity fears since it provides a dedicated team of security professionals to prevent, protect, and respond to threats in your environment.

If you're tired of being spooked, see how a SOC-as-a-service can help your organization.

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