Data breaches are not a new problem and affect all industries, but some more than others. For example, CRN reports that data breaches and security incidents rose 35% in 2016 for the healthcare industry compared to the previous year.
If your customers have private information about individuals or other businesses in their databases — whether it be credit card information, identity information, or other classified details — they are targets for hackers. What’s worse: most of your customers probably think their systems are secure. If there are two things the past few years have shown, it’s that no business is safe from cyber threats, and too few put safeguards in place only after damage has been done — not before.
So how do you protect your precious customer data and your customers’ data? You make a plan. And you make a plan not just for yourself, but one for your customer, too. That way, everyone stays secure.
Any plan should integrate these key concepts:
Identify reporting requirements under federal and state law – Which industries are your customers in? When a breach does occur, there will likely be a number of things that need to be reported to state and federal officials, depending on their markets. Knowing what these requirements are can keep your customers from running afoul of ever-changing laws. Consulting with a legal professional can help keep an organization up-to-date with what needs to be done in regards to breach reporting.
Know the biggest security vulnerabilities – Help your customers develop security plans by identifying the most likely avenues of attack. Denying hackers an easy way into a system is proactive, and — once these points are known — it becomes easier for a security team to create stronger defenses specific to each individual vulnerability.
Develop a testing and cyber-defense protocol – Periodic testing of a system helps your customers to make sure that there are no new vulnerabilities that need to be immediately addressed. The defenses put into place by a data security team should include active monitoring of the server as well as individual links with the central database. Scheduled penetration testing should be done on the most vulnerable areas to ensure that current defenses are sufficient for new methods of attack.
Pay special attention to external communications – While your customer may have robust security procedures in place, they can all be undone by a careless third party. If a vendor is putting your customer’s business at risk with its security shortcomings, it may be necessary to either require them to upgrade their cyber-defenses or find a new vendor. At a minimum, there should be an agreement between vendors that requires one party to notify the other party if a data breach occurs.
Educate yourself – You can only help your customers if you have the know-how. The security world is changing constantly, with new types of threats emerging around the clock. Educate yourself with research and talking to experts so that you can bring top security advice to your clients.
To find out more about the cyber threats and data security plans, contact MicroCorp today.