Did you know that a hacker tries to steal data from a business once every 39 seconds? Moreover, 60% of small businesses will close down within 6 months if a cyber attack succeeds. These numbers must ring a bell in the minds of organizational leaders and business owners to indicate just how vulnerable their businesses are to cyber attacks.
What is a data breach? And how does a data breach take place?
As defined by TechTarget, a data breach is a cyber attack in which sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data has been accessed and/or disclosed in an unauthorized fashion.
Let’s dive deeper into how a cyber attack is planned and how the data breach occurs:
- The first phase of a cyber attack is the research phase, in which the attacker studies the target, identifying weak points in the system, network or people that can be exploited.
- Once the attacker has found a weakness, the second phase starts. The attacker may launch a network-based attack, which implies the attacker is using a weakness in the infrastructure to initiate a breach. Injection of SQL code or session hijacking are examples of network-based attacks. The attacker could also choose to launch a social attack, which implies using social engineering tactics such as a malicious email that tricks the recipient into entering personal data or even an attachment that executes malware when downloaded.
- The final phase of the attack is the exfiltration stage, which implies that data is extracted from the network once the attacker has successfully entered the network. This data may then be used for further targeting the network for more attacks.
The cost of data breaches
An IBM report put the cost of a breach in 2021 at $4.24 million on average. Sounds like a lot? Remember that the cost adds up quickly when calculating all the factors such as lost employee productivity, ransoms, recovery time, marketing, fines, and penalties associated with a breach. Moreover, the expense of a data breach is not just a monetary issue. It also significantly impacts future business since customers are usually hesitant to work with firms that have experienced a data breach.
What can organizations do to protect themselves from cyber threats?
Experts agree that employee training is the first line of defence. Most of the time, it is employees who unintentionally initiate the majority of data breaches. If users are provided with adequate training to recognize malicious emails and malevolent behaviours, many attacks can be prevented altogether or at least caught quickly.
Proactive security measures
The average attack in 2021 has been going on for just under six months. Many of these breaches are traceable within a day or two of the attackers being in the network. Cybersecurity has many facets and requires a multi-layered approach. The more layers you implement, the more you reduce your risk of being breached.
Zero-trust model for hybrid work environments
IT departments must “always verify” and authenticate individual users before granting access to networks using multi-factor authentication (MFA). Usually, this is done by automatically checking for suspicious actions, such as a user logging into an account on a different type of machine or a connection request from an unusual or unexpected location.
Work with an experienced third-party cybersecurity provider
You need the expertise of a specialized cybersecurity service provider to implement a layered approach to data protection. User training, multi-factor authentication, firewalls, anti-virus software, and numerous back-end controls help provide layers of protection. Network security needs constant evaluation as new threats and vulnerabilities emerge, and new protection must be applied.
Best practices organizations should adopt to protect against attacks
- Provide clear cyber security guidelines to employees, train them to recognize social engineering attempts, and enforce a series of actions to be taken immediately after a cyber threat is identified.
- Schedule periodic security audits and regularly monitor all systems in the organization’s network.
- Keep network patches and software applications updated regularly to prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in unpatched or outdated software.
- Create an effective incident response plan. When a data breach occurs, prevent chaos from creeping in by defining the protocols to be followed: This includes designating the person to be informed immediately of the breach and prescribing what information employees must provide to the security teams to help tackle the breach effectively. The plan must also clearly state the steps to mitigate the risk and stop data exfiltration from the network immediately and contain the damage.
Vertex: Protecting law firms in Canada from the risk of data breaches
Information security is a prime concern for law firms. There is absolutely no room for compromise when it comes to mitigating the risk of data breaches owing to the nature of sensitive information they hold on behalf of their clients.
You need a specialized IT partner who understands the complexities of a law practice and the challenges that law firms face in meeting compliance and regulatory obligations.
Vertex is your go-to service provider for hassle-free, fixed-price IT solutions delivered by dedicated IT professionals in Canada.
As your IT partner, we recommend and integrate the best business applications and customized solutions to eliminate downtime, enhance IT security, and increase your firm’s productivity.
We integrate compliance and data security into our managed IT services. From PIPEDA to provincial law societies protocols, we provide law firms with the security they need, creating a network that they can depend on to run their law practice productively and securely.
Our Cloud Desktop and Managed IT Services for law firms include:
- Advanced security software and backup solutions
- Enhanced network security with virtually no downtime.
- Proactive monitoring
- Continuous management of security protocols
- Risk mitigation strategies
We assign a dedicated virtual CIO to handle your network’s strategic planning and optimization, making your firm more secure and productive through increased uptime and enhanced security.
Our virtual private cloud offering ensures that your firm’s data is kept isolated and safe—an essential IT infrastructure consideration for law firms and other businesses operating in regulated industries.
Our Toronto help desk provides unlimited support, ensuring same-day resolution of customer tickets. Contact us for a free assessment of your cyber security needs, and we’ll devise a plan that fits the unique needs of your law firm.