How to Protect Yourself from Data Breach Liability

Businesses typically store a wide range of sensitive information in their servers, like credit cards, bank accounts, and personally identifiable data. Therefore, even a single data breach can potentially have a massive impact on the business and the people within. Often, breaches leave companies with severe liability and covering the cost of damages for each individual affected by the breach. 

When customers and clients trust you with their personal information, it is your business’s responsibility to protect it. Consequently, it is vital that all members of your organization take the necessary actions to prevent a security breach and protect any data your organization obtains. Given the astronomical costs of a data breach, it is well worth it to invest your organization’s resources into protecting highly sensitive information to the furthest extent possible.

How Much Does a Data Breach Cost?

As stated in IBM’s 2021 report, global digital disruption has led to greater data breach costs than we’ve seen before. Increasing digitization throughout society due to the pandemic and global unrest caused organizations in every sector to transfer their operations to the cloud. Although these changes were impossible to circumvent, they significantly increased the risk of organizations experiencing a data breach.

A security incident is defined as any time one entity obtains unauthorized access to another entity’s information. Often, these events may occur by accident. For instance, if an employee sends sensitive information to the wrong address, they have just caused a data breach. This also applies if employees are accessing information they do not have permission to view, even if they do so by accident. However, only 17% of data breaches are categorized as unintentional. In most cases, an entity is accessing information with the intent of using it for financial gain.

The average data breach cost in 2021 rose above $4 million, which is a 10% increase from the cost in 2019. Most attribute these losses to operational changes caused by the pandemic. Generally speaking, the cost of a data breach depends on the type of data in question. For instance, the 2020 IBM report found that customer PII accounts for 80% of all data breaches, costing an average of $180 per second.

How to Protect Company Data and Reduce Your Liability

When customers trust your organization with their private information, it’s your responsibility to ensure that it remains protected. Whether you are obtaining, storing, or disposing of this data, efficient data protection and security procedures will reduce instances of data breaches and your organization’s liability if one were to occur.

Implement Vulnerability and Compliance Management

Utilizing a vulnerability and compliance management (VCM) tool will simplify identifying weaknesses and security misconfigurations within your company’s infrastructure, whether virtual or physical. In addition, VCM will monitor your IT assets for any compliance weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Companies can leverage this information to optimize their security practices and mitigate a data breach before it occurs. A high-quality VCM also allows companies to create a solid action plan to reduce these vulnerabilities and assign these tasks to specific employees.

Perform Regular Audits on Security Posture

Regular audits will enable you to identify potential pitfalls in your compliance with security laws and regulations. Essentially, a security audit is an in-depth analysis of your security policies that is much more thorough than penetration testing or a vulnerability assessment. During a security audit, you may ask the following questions:

  • Does your company have documented data protection policies? 
  • Does your company have a Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plan?
  • Is there an established change management process at all levels of your IT environment?
  • Does your company have appropriate network security mechanisms?
  • How are files and media stored, and are there procedures to restore them?

Regular security audits ensure that your organization is taking the necessary precautions to protect critical data, create new security policies and observe the effectiveness of your current security strategies. Performing security audits regularly ensures that employee practices align with your data protection policies while tending to any vulnerabilities. 

Develop Data Policies and Procedures

Once your organization completes the necessary security policy audits, it’s time to develop policies and procedures that ensure complete protection from data breach liability. When creating a security policy for your employees, address the following issues:

  • How will your organization assess and classify employee, company, and client data?
  • Who is permitted to access specific data, and for how long can they do so?
  • How will you encrypt the data that your organization is storing?

Robust data policies and procedures reduce data breach liability and streamline your data management processes. When companies know who is responsible for data and when they’re accessing information, it eradicates data silos. Furthermore, these practices ensure that any data your company manages is regularly cleansed and updated.

Partner with a Reputable ITAD Provider

Protecting your company from data breach liability is also important when disposing of your electronic assets. Many organizations experience data breaches when recycling their unwanted electronic assets with untrustworthy e-waste recyclers. These so-called e-waste recycling companies collect electronic devices and send the parts to landfills in developing countries. Not only does this wreak havoc on the environment, it also puts company data at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

When selecting a company for e-waste recycling, choose a certified ITAD provider who can verify that their practices are safe and secure. A reputable IT provider will wipe your IT equipment of all data before moving on to the next stage of the recycling process. Forming a partnership with a reliable ITAD provider is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to reduce your organization’s data breach liability.

Protect Your Company From Data Breach Liability with FAMCe

Protecting your company from data breach liability requires the careful assessment of your current data security procedures, which includes your IT equipment recycling practices. If it’s time for your business or organization to upgrade your electronic devices, certified ITAD providers will ensure that your unwanted IT equipment is disposed of in a manner that is both ethical and secure.  

FAMCe has over 30 years of experience helping businesses safely and responsibly recycle their outdated devices. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as an industry leader, and we are committed to exceeding each client’s needs and expectations.

Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.