With technology evolving as quickly as it has been for the past few years, it’s not surprising that data breaches have crept up the list of many business owners’ biggest fears. Even for an SME (small to medium-sized enterprise), the thought of not having protection in place is a scary one. So with an increasing need for better risk management, what do you need to know?
Preventative risk management
It’s just as important to be preventative as it is to be reactive, if not more so, so consider implementing strategies for deterring an attack rather than just thinking about how you’d react once an attack happened.
While this might sound vague, a recent study found that over 70% of executives thought that their employees and key stakeholders didn’t fully comprehend the consequences of a data breach. That’s seven in ten businesses that could potentially be held liable for huge amounts of legal action due to a lack of awareness, education and preventative measures.
Essentially, one of the biggest preventative tactics is the education of your team. Make sure that solutions are discussed from the top down. The board of directors and/or leadership team should discuss the risks and implement an incident response plan so that the whole company is aware of the protocol and process if something goes wrong. That way, clear cross-team communication channels can allow for faster reaction times and better prevention overall.
Physical and digital preventative measures are equally as important as educational ones. Your D&T team should implement any technologically protective measures possible without damaging or slowing down your website or back end. This includes fraud prevention against anything capable of providing device intelligence, risk assessments, a layered authentication strategy, traditional personally identifiable information (PII), validation and verification, as well as any other contextual information management you may require.
Reactive risk management
Reactive risk management is a little different as it occurs only after the breach has taken place. At this point, communication is important, whether it’s customer-facing or internal.
If your customer base has been negatively affected, it’s likely that their initial instinct will be one of mistrust. Whoever communicates with them should portray empathy and honesty. The business on the whole should offer a potential solution or some form of rectification and potentially even reimbursement if necessary.
This is where cyber liability insurance is important. Although vastly preventative, its benefits are typically only reaped after a breach has taken place. And with one in four Australian workers stressing about their finances, it’s important to consider the costs involved in not having protection in place. Risk management is typically expensive, so most cyber liability insurance policies will provide cover for the costs involved in managing the problem, such as alerting your customer base. Most insurers will also go the extra mile and collaborate with you to assist with working out your strategy.
At the end of the day it’s important to consider the issues involved with a breach and take action to implement a risk management strategy so that if something does go wrong, you can remain calm.
The article is written by Richard Laycock - Insurance expert at finder.com.au