The Industry Wake-Up Call

Since the introduction of GDPR in 2018, the security of sensitive information has increasingly been brought forward when it comes to the protection and potential mistreatment of people’s data.

Outlines have been drawn as to the acceptable and responsible handling of data by businesses, with penalties now put in place for breaching data protection laws that are increasingly growing stricter with each offence. This has resulted in record fines in excess of over £1m to various businesses in the leisure sector for failing to provide adequate security measures, which has become recurring data breach news throughout the year.

Alarm Bells

If this was enough of a wake-up call, the ministry of defence has also come under fire following its annual report revealing an 18% rise in data breaches over the last year. Seven incidents were considered so serious that the Information Commissioner’s Office has stepped up to handle them.

The very real ramifications of these lapses in security installations have highlighted that something more serious needs to be in place, with the thought of just paying the fine and moving on not being a good enough substitute for businesses providing an assessment of its vulnerabilities and the steps taken to prevent it happening further or even worse than before.

The further vulnerable avenue most businesses were left open to was the advent of their workforce having to establish a work from the home directive.

Although the pandemic could not have been predicted as well as its effects on global businesses, businesses that functioned off of a central, protected network with built-in protection against viruses and cyber-attacks had not had the foresight into how their business was left vulnerable from simpler home-based networks that were inadequate for protection.

Whilst most businesses sent their workers home with a laptop and wishful thinking that everything would run smoothly, the rise of cyber attacks grew from March 2020 with personal networks being relatively easy to hack and pillage.

Simple Methods Still Work

The most alarming statistic shows that whilst people believe that cyber hackers are getting smarter in their techniques, the simple truth is that they have not needed to.

The majority of data breaches are still being accessed by age-old means. Spam emails, computer viruses and chatbot hacking are still the prime avenues for attackers to access networks, with these tried and tested means providing fresh meat in home-based networks. This has called on businesses to take responsibility in providing their workers with a knowledge of how to identify and report such attacks as well as secure means of home-based working.

Education on more secure working conditions is a major step, but business leaders need to wake up and take up smarter security measures to prevent mistakes allowing the theft of thousands to millions of records being compromised.

For more information on how to protect data online, check out Whitehall Media’s events on what is considered a data breach and cybersecurity behaviour analytics.