Is Your Business Network Vulnerable to a Data Breach?

Network intrusions and data breach incidents are among the most significant risks and threats faced by business owners these days. The statistics compiled by cybercrime research centers are certainly alarming: in 2005, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reported 136 major data breaches in the government and private sectors combined. By 2014, that number had increased to 783 major incidents and more than 85 million personal records compromised.

The problem with data breach statistics is that they rarely include minor incidents. Let’s say a neighborhood dental clinic suffers a data breach with 120 records compromised; since this is not a high-profile occurrence, it is not likely to be reported by the major IT security research centers, but the identity theft risks posed to the affected patients is very real.

What Makes Business Networks Vulnerable

The healthcare sector is among the most vulnerable to data breaches due to the considerable amount of personal information collected from patients.

Laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are created to protect sensitive patient information. The HIPAA framework by itself does not prevent data breaches; clinics, medical offices, hospitals, and health insurance providers should adopt security policies that include:

  • Using only trusted wireless networks
  • Applying strict password practices
  • Regularly updating software
  • Using two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Raising staff awareness about social engineering attacks

Proper Responses to Data Breaches

Time is of the essence when responding to a data breach incident, which you should treat with the same urgency as a venomous snake bite. This means that you may have to take the network offline for the purpose of cutting off the attackers.

Cybercrime groups are known to strike again even after the threat has been contained; to this effect, you should mitigate and prevent future attacks. Let’s say you are an IT manager at the aforementioned dental clinic; what you should be doing after an attack would be to set up a backup network with the help of an EHR data migration company.

Smaller companies tend to have an easier time recovering from a data breach. A neighborhood dental clinic can bounce back with a new network and a review of HIPAA security policies. A hospital, on the other hand, must investigate the root cause, organize disclosures, evaluate the chain of custody, and consider the possibility of insider threats.

Final Thoughts

In the end, you should never assume that your business is not vulnerable to data breaches. Regular network security audits are mandatory these days, and you should frequently review your procedures. Have you ever had a data breach? If so what are some of the tools you used to recover?

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MP Staff Writer

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