Remember The Monsters Under The Bed?

You know what I mean; you remember, maybe yours was in the closet . . . but you remember.  Luckily we’ve grown up.  No more monsters; right?

We’re grownups now; right?  We get up, we get dressed, coffee maybe . . . how grown up.  Off to work, like a grownup.  We sit at our desks, turn on our computers and give no thought to the monsters.

For many of us though, the monsters are all too real.  If your office is at the end of the long hallway or all those other grownups work for you, you’d best remember the monsters.  They are not under the bed or in the closet, they are out there; make no mistake, they’re out there and they are very, very real.

We live in a world in which the threat of attack is all too real.  Phishing, data breach, ransom-ware, the list is long.  That is what we are here to talk about today.

Almost daily we hear news of a breach.  We’re almost desensitized; unless, you’re one of the victims.

Statistics indicate that 44% of small-businesses report having fallen prey to an attack.  The cost to a business of an attack is said to be $8,700 on average to mitigate, no small matter.

As the responsible parties, we are entrusted with the assets, the data, of our company or institution and that of the clients and individuals we serve.  Unguarded and unchecked an organization’s files and folders can be corrupted or stolen, by means as veiled as they are sinister.  You cannot defend against the monsters by hiding under the covers; you must turn on the lights and look in the closet, or under the bed.

There are ways to guard against the monsters; spam filters, antivirus software, strong firewalls, intrusion prevention, zero-day malware detection, data loss/leak protection, encryption and two-factor authentication.  Sound extensive?  It is.

Although you likely don’t need all of these, you probably have some of them already.  The question is, which of those that you don’t have, should you?   Furthermore, what do they cost and what could be the cost if you don’t?  These are good questions and I suggest that you ask them.

At this time, I’ll address the last question, albeit not with a quantified number; the ceiling has not yet been set.  Recent changes have occurred to make the cost potentially staggering.

The Justice Department ruled that a company can be sued for punitive damages in the event of a data breach.  Additionally, response lately to some breaches has seen the termination of “C”-level personnel.  The inherent cost is no longer limited to loss-of-public-trust; as if that weren’t enough.  Now the price to the company victimized can be financially significant and the toll to key-executives can be their positions.

It is no longer safe to turn away and hope to make it through unscathed.  You must take action to fend off the monsters, you’re a grown up now.

– Originally published: The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Chatter Magazine, November-December 2015 Issue