Can Your Business Defend Itself Against Cyber Crime?

May 04, 2017

Imagine waking up one morning to discover your business has been compromised by a cybersecurity breach. Depending on the type of breach, you could be dealing with any number of serious issues, from sensitive data compromises to significant revenue loss. Knowing how to control the damage can make a world of difference for your bottom line.

Take for example the nine Dairy Queen locations in Arizona (and hundreds of other locations across the country) that were compromised in a 2014 data security breach, according to Aeris Secure. Since most Dairy Queens are independently owned by small business owners, the impact of the breach was felt heavily by the owners, and could have easily been avoided. 

At Alliance Bank of Arizona, we are committed to maintaining the best cybersecurity practices to keep private client information private. We often advise our clients and others how to best secure their places of business. It starts with the realization that anyone—from the newest intern to the C-level executives—can become a target of digital crime and leave your company exposed.

According to an IBM 2016 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study, the average consolidated cost of a data breach is around $3.8 million—that’s an increase of 23% from 2013. Records or data stolen loses money, and the average amount of money lost for each record or piece of information stolen comes to $154. That’s a 6% increase from $145 in 2013.

The major causes of breaches according the Identity Theft Resource Center:

  • Hacking, 22%

  • Insider theft or accidental exposure, 12%

  • Subcontractors or third-party companies, 11%

Experian, a credit information company, noted that 80% of the breaches they often handle are directly tied with employee negligence. So what can you do to protect your company?

Plan to defend yourself against cyber crime.

The Department of Homeland Security urges all CEOs to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How is our executive leadership informed about the current level and business impact of cyber risks to our company?

  • What is the current level and business impact of cyber risks to our company? What is our plan to address identified risks?

  • How does our cybersecurity program apply industry standards and best practices?

  • How many and what types of cyber incidents do we detect in a normal week? What is the threshold for notifying our executive leadership?

  • How comprehensive is our cyber incident response plan? How often is it tested?

At Alliance Bank of Arizona, we advise our clients to first understand that cybersecurity is NOT implementing a checklist of requirements; rather it is managing cyber risks to acceptable level and should be part of an organization’s governance, risk management and business continuity framework.

Make sure to stay informed through real-time and trend data on cyber events and lean on business-line managers to help identify potential supply chain risks created through third-party vendors or cyber dependencies.

Above all, regardless of company size, be sure to implement these simple practices that can help reduce the risk of cyber crimes at the office and when doing business remotely from mobile devices or home offices:

  • Designate Specific Computers For Banking and Business Activities. Restrict personal activities on these systems such as internet browsing and access to personal email boxes.

  • Review Financial Statements As Soon As They Arrive. Monitor monthly statements for discrepancies and unknown activity.

  • Install and Maintain Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware. Ensure you have a layered security approach that includes anti-virus/anti-financial malware solutions appropriate to your environment and update them regularly.

  • Back-Up Data. Perform regular backups of critical data and store in multiple locations.

  • Use Caution With Wi-Fi Hotspots. When accessing business-related accounts and documents using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, airport or any public space, practice extra caution.

  • Enable Security Features On Home Networks. Prevent unwanted access on home networks by enabling security features, using a strong password and encryption.

  • Use Care When Social Networking. Do not reveal sensitive information when using social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Modifying settings to prevent strangers from viewing your page is also recommended.

  • Sector Information. Sharing and analysis centers, government and intelligence agencies, academic institutions, and research firms also serve as valuable sources of threat and vulnerability information that can be used to enhance situational awareness.

According to Timothy Francis, enterprise lead for Cyber insurance, 62% of cyber-breach victims are small to mid-size businesses. While it’s easy to focus on the big companies that deal with data breaches, the fact is that small to mid-size businesses are at the greatest risk of an attack.

 Thankfully, educating yourself and preparing for data breach incidents can help defend your business against cyber crime.

Alliance Bank of Arizona can help you proactively mitigate and manage cyber risks when it comes to your banking relationship. Contact us to learn more about how to best protect your payment processes and more.