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Cybersecurity Isn’t About a Month of Awareness Each Fall

SMBs need to make data protection and activities a year-round focus.

Seventeen data loss incidents per day: That’s the average that companies now detect, according to the latest research from Intel Security. It’s a tough stat but shouldn’t be surprising if you work in IT.

As personally identifiable information, protected health information and intellectual property become more profitable to cybercriminals, no business is immune to attack. Sometimes, data thieves start small, worming their way from one system into a larger one run by the same business or one of its partners.

What’s scarier, frankly, is that companies that have been hacked are often unaware of a breach. By the time they discover an incident, the information likely has been used or sold to the highest bidder.

Roughly half the time, third parties — white hat hackers, payment companies and law enforcement agencies — discover breaches before a business’s own security team. This lengthens the gap between loss and remediation, and the ultimate fallout in cost, time and harm to reputation.

Step Up Your Security Game 

The alarming trends detailed in Intel’s “McAfee Labs Threat Report” demonstrate the need for greater use of endpoint monitoring, intrusion detection and data loss prevention technologies across industries. The growing loss of unstructured data such as Microsoft Office documents, PDFs or plain text is trickier to catch than structured data such as credit card or Social Security numbers.

While the country recently observed the 13th National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, we all know security doesn’t just grab our attention for one month out of 12. Security and IT teams must be on defense year-round. But keeping hackers at bay is not just a tech department problem. It requires the help of employees and customers alike.

Hopefully, October’s #CyberAware initiative drilled home the point that cybersafety is a shared responsibility. According to the Intel report, more than 85 percent of companies provide staff with security awareness training and reinforce it with pop-ups or other notifications. By taking steps to strengthen data loss prevention practices and engaging users regularly, businesses can enhance security and keep protected data safe.

To help you plan for security as a year-round activity, check out "5 Cybersecurity Priorities for Every SMB in 2017," to find out what every SMB must have on its security checklist. 

TeamOktopus/ThinkStock
Nov 29 2016

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