Don't become a target: Expect the unexpected in data breaches

May 7, 2015 By Jared Tully
The State Journal

Home Depot, Target, JPMorgan Chase, Sony — these are just a few of the large corporations that have suffered data breaches. With increasing frequency we hear of data breached at large corporations. But the reality is all organizations — large, small, complex, simple, sophisticated or unsophisticated — are at risk. The frightening reality is you and your businesses are at risk for a data breach — every day. And breaches often occur in unexpected ways; for example the Target breach resulted from stolen credentials of an HVAC contractor. From stolen passwords to true cyber attacks, the threat comes unexpected and, oftentimes, undetected.

With each data breach there are obvious and immediate costs: actual costs, reputational costs, goodwill costs and unexpected costs. Target's profits fell more than 40 percent, according to a New York Times article (Feb. 26, 2014) following its famed incident. And the reputational costs are difficult to quantify, but the lifeblood of business is trust, and a data breach destroys trust. According to the “2014 Cost of Data Breach Study: United States” issued by the Ponemon Institute and IBM, more customers terminated their relationship with the company that suffered a data breach than in previous years. Importantly, the study also found financial services industries were the most susceptible to the loss of customers.

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