When we see headlines about data breaches, they are often about big, corporate entities, in which hundreds of thousands, or even millions of personal identities and financial profiles have been exposed. According to Symantec, the number of publicly disclosed data breaches continues to rise. But these “mega breaches” aren’t the only thing security experts are worried about. There is also the spectre of small, unreported data breaches.
Small- and medium-sized companies are also at high risk of data breaches. While the payoff to cyber criminals may be smaller, they are still tempting targets because their security is usually less robust than an enterprise’s. It is likely that with all the mega-breaches occurring, far more small-scale breaches are going unreported. A business owner may not realize they’ve been hacked or may feel embarrassed that they have been targeted. For many, it may simply be that they don’t know what to do when they’ve been attacked.
There are many ways that small businesses can protect their data, and we’ll continue to promote these preventive measures whenever we can. But those that aren’t taking these precautions are opening themselves up to attacks needlessly. Victims are often bewildered in the wake of a data breach; this isn’t a daily occurrence for most people. Fortunately, some experts deal with these issues regularly, which is why every small-business owner should at least be aware of the incident response industry.
Incident response services help their clients recover as quickly as possible from data breaches. They identify what data has been exposed, collect and preserve evidence for the investigation, and then secure systems from future attacks. Whereas a small organization may not be able to retain a full-time team to proactively maintain a secure IT infrastructure, incident response services can be brought on reactively, as needed. Fortunately, there are many providers out there, each with its own portfolio of services, specialties, and pricing structures. Researching your options is something you ought to be doing now, rather than in the wake of a data breach, when you’ll probably have many other things on your mind.
Prevention is almost always going to be the most cost-effective solution to securing your online data. But in the constant arms race between cybersecurity and cybercriminals, even those that have protected themselves might become the target of an attack. If that ever happens to you, be sure you have a preferred incident response service in mind. It may not be a call you ever want to make, but in the flurry of activity that follows a data breach, it’s good to know that there is someone that you can call.