5 Questions to Ask to Defend Against Cyberattacks and Data Breaches

January 12, 2022

5 Questions to Ask to Help Prevent Data Breaches and Cyberattacks

Data breach. Just the phrase is enough to strike dread in the hearts of most business owners and managers, not to mention their customers. And that’s with good reason: In the last several years, high-profile data breaches have affected several household-name companies, including Microsoft (affecting more than 280 million customer records), Facebook, Marriott, MGM Resorts and Volkswagen of America.  

If you sense that data breaches are growing, you’re correct. Data compromises increased in 2021 by more than 68% compared to the previous year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).  Fortunately, your company can make a plan to protect yourself or even prevent data breaches. 

The costs of hacking and data breaches 

According to IBM Security’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report , a data breach costs $4.24 million, on average. The cost of stolen personally identifiable information — the most common type of record lost — is $180 per piece. 

A breach has other costs as well: time and clients. According to the report, the average time a breach takes from identification to containment is 287 days — that’s more than three-quarters of your year. And lost business makes up 38% of the total cost of a breach. In one recent example, a data compromise forced Colonial Pipeline, an East Coast gas utility, to shut down for nearly a week. 

Creating a plan to protect your business

In today’s tight labor market, many cybersecurity teams are stretched thin. According to global IT professional organization ISACA, almost two-thirds of cybersecurity professionals consider their organization’s cybersecurity team understaffed .

In this scenario, it’s all too easy for these businesses to fall victim to cybercrime. However, you can do more to defend your company by knowing the dangers and implementing best practices to prevent breaches.

  1. For a start, you may wish to ask your company’s leadership the following questions: 
  2. What are the current level and business impact of cyber risks to our company? What is our plan to address identified risks?
  3. How is our executive leadership informed about the current level and business impact of cyber risks?
  4. How does our cybersecurity program apply industry standards and best practices?
  5. How many and what types of cyber incidents do we detect in a typical week? What is the threshold for notifying our executive leadership?
  6. How comprehensive is our cyber incident response plan? How often is it tested?

Learn more about how our expert bankers can help you protect your business from cybercrime — and our commitment to maintaining robust cybersecurity practices to help keep private client information private. Contact your Western Alliance Bank relationship manager or find out more about what our bank can offer businesses like yours.