Data Breaches and Enterprise Information Security: A Better Response

From major retailers to news services to government agencies, headlines about major data breaches are now alarmingly common.

Of course, hacking is nothing new. Initially the province of underground hobbyists, hacking burst into public consciousness with the release of the 1983 movie War Games. Though it’s now quaintly nostalgic, clips from the film were actually shown in the U.S. Congress at the time as “a ‘realistic representation’ of the dangers of hacking,” and inspired passage of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) within a year.

How to respond to data breachesToday, despite heightened awareness (and extensive investments in data protection technologies), the number and cost of data breaches continue to rise as foreign governments and cyber criminals seek to steal information for commercial and military advantage.

Just between 2013 to 2014, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, “the number of detected (information security) incidents soared to a total of 42.8 million, a 48% leap … Total financial losses attributed to security compromises increased 34% over 2013.” Furthermore, both the targets and impacts were larger: incidents with a financial impact of $20 million or more nearly doubled.

Enterprises have reacted by spending more each year to prevent the financial and reputational losses from data theft. According to Gartner, global IT security spending totaled $71.1 billion in 2014, an increase of 7.9% compared to 2013. 2015 expenditures are projected to rise another 8.2% to $76.9 billion.

Though companies and government agencies are investing more than ever in information security software and training, hackers continue to deploy more sophisticated methods as well. This information security “arms race” makes it almost inevitable that most organizations will suffer a data breach at some point.

As written here previously, in the words of Joseph Demarest, assistant director in the FBI’s Cyber Division, “You’re going to get hacked. Have a plan.”

Proactive approaches to enterprise information security are vital. But equally important is having a plan and supporting tools in place to react quickly if a breach does occur.

A new report from Kinetic Data details a five-step process for responding to a data breach, minimizing losses while getting essential business systems back on line securely and quickly.

It also explains the role enterprise collaboration software can play in rapidly assembling a team of the necessary experts–from inside or outside the company–online in a virtual war room to minimize the time required to recover from the intrusion.

Because data theft is lucrative and hackers continues to deploy more sophisticated methods, attacks on corporate and government information infrastructure are inevitable. Organizations are investing more in technology, processes, and people in order to protect sensitive data. But it’s also crucial to have a plan and tools in place to respond quickly in case those defenses are ever penetrated.

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