5 Types of Companies That Are Most At-Risk for Data Breaches
Data breaches are most common in healthcare, finance, retail, lodging, and the public sector, at least generally speaking.
Government agencies have a lot of experience in preventing data breaches, and they are transparent (to varying degrees), as well. It should be no surprise that we look to them as a model for evaluating risk. Breaches are in the news seemingly every day about state secrets being divulged or citizen/taxpayer data being leaked, so studies of these agencies are important.
If attacks on public sector organizations mirror activity in other sectors, IT data security is more important than ever. While large data leaks are relatively infrequent, cyberattacks in the public sector are increasing — and alarmingly so.
Which Government Organizations Are Most at Risk?
Examples from data breach threats in recent history are helpful as case studies for continuing education.
Among government departments, smaller agencies appear to be at greater risk than larger ones. The strength of security teams tends to correlate with the size of the departments’ budgets and IT teams. Local organizations tend to have a less mature risk infrastructure and leaner budgets.
Not surprisingly, military organizations report the strongest security cultures and training. They have a more mature infrastructure and capacity for risk. This makes them much less of a target.
Consider some of the more significant cyberattacks in the United States in recent years. At Aurora Water in Colorado, customers of this water supplier suffered multiple attacks in 2020. At Jailcore, inmates of this prison service provider exposed sensitive data on 20,000 inmates, also in 2020.
Other public sector organizations report different vulnerabilities. For example, contractors introduce risks, as in the case of the Swedish Transportation Agency. In this case, outsourced workers led to exposure of confidential information.
Steps You Can Take
Data breaches are bigger risks for smaller businesses for the reasons listed above and more. There are several steps you can take — and should take — in order to prevent data breaches at your company. These steps are valid for any size business, in the public sector or private.
Step 1: All employees must understand data security. Make it a priority to implement training on company-wide policies. Follow through and verify that the policies are followed.
Step 2: Assess the effectiveness of your security program. You can do this by conducting a risk assessment. What data do you have that someone would want to steal?
Step 3: Invest in a plan for security and response. While preventing a breach is the best option, it is not always possible. This contingency must be planned for.
Step 4: Invest in cyber insurance. Buying cyber insurance can help your company bounce back in the event that the previous steps fail.
Did you know that the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can hold you responsible for safeguarding your customers’ PII? This is true regardless of whether a contractor or regular employee is the one who loses control of it.
SEAM’s professionals can advise you about a risk assessment for your North Dakota company. Contact us to learn more about SEAM’s data breach protection services in South Dakota and surrounding areas, too.