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reputationI was recently reviewing Verizon’s recently annual Data Breach Investigations Report for 2013, published earlier this year. It is must reading for anyone who has an interest in data security. Actually, if there is anyone who isn’t they should be!

There are a lot fascinating findings in this year’s edition, enough to inspire numerous blog articles. For today, I want to focus on two important findings as a warning for us all.

o  78% of initial intrusions rated as low difficulty
o  69% of breaches discovered by external parties

Now, think about this for a moment. A breach discovered by an external party, such as a customer or vendor, is extremely embarrassing. It can cost business and customers. The dollar cost of any financial loss from a breach pales in comparison to the impact of being exposed as untrustworthy to your stakeholders.

Yet, 78% of the time the intruder had an easy time of it!

Despite numerous high profile hacking incidents, most breaches occur because of a failure to use, or properly implement basic security measures such as firewalls and antivirus systems.

Point of Sale systems are a particularly rich target, accounting for 17% of all confirmed data breaches. I really believe that too many small and mid size operations still think of POS systems as cash registers. In fact, there is very little difference between a POS system and a desktop computer. They need the same type of protection.

A business needs to treat network and data security as if its reputation depends on it.

Clearly, it does