In the new digital age, where everything is online, businesses generate and collect a vast amount of data. This data includes customer information, financial data, intellectual property, and more.
It is important for businesses to control who has access to this data, as unauthorised access could have serious consequences.
Your business data is a goldmine for cybercriminals. Cyber actors use a variety of methods, such as phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware to breach sensitive business data. Once they have access to your data, they can use it for various purposes, such as selling it on the dark web, using it to commit identity theft, or blackmailing your business.
For example, The Lagan Specialist Contracting Group (SCG) data breach was caused by a cyberattack that exploited a vulnerability in SCG's systems through data mishandling. The vulnerability allowed the attackers to gain access to the company's network and steal a significant amount of sensitive and confidential employee data. The data that was compromised included names, addresses, dates of birth, and national insurance numbers. SCG has since taken steps to secure its systems and prevent future breaches. The company has also offered affected employees free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. The Lagan Specialist Contracting Group (SCG) data breach is a reminder that even businesses that take steps to protect their data can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. It is important for all businesses to be aware of cybersecurity risks and to take steps to mitigate those risks.
Unauthorised access to business data can have a great number of serious consequences. These consequences can be financial, legal, reputational, and operational. They can also cause:
Once cybercriminals have access to your business data, they can use it for a variety of purposes such as:
Selling it on the dark web: The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. It is often used for illegal activities, such as selling stolen data. Cybercriminals can sell your personal information on the dark web to other criminals who can use it to commit identity theft or other crimes.
Using it to commit identity theft: Cybercriminals can use your personal information to commit identity theft. This can include opening new accounts in your name, applying for loans, or using your credit card. Identity theft can have a devastating impact on your finances and your credit score.
Blackmailing your business: Cybercriminals may threaten to release your data to the public or use it for other malicious purposes if you do not pay them a ransom. This can be a very costly and disruptive experience for your business.
There are a number of people who typically have access to business data, including:
Employees: Employees need access to data in order to do their jobs. However, it is important to only give employees access to the data they need to do their jobs. This means that employees should only have access to the data that is relevant to their role in the company. For example, a customer service representative should only have access to customer data, while a financial analyst should only have access to financial data.
Contractors: Businesses often hire contractors to help with tasks such as IT support, marketing, and accounting. These contractors may need access to some business data to do their jobs. However, it is important to only give contractors access to the data they need to do their jobs. This means that contractors should only have access to the data that is necessary for them to complete their tasks. For example, an IT contractor who is setting up a new server should only have access to the data that is needed to configure the server.
In addition to employees, contractors, and vendors, businesses may also give third-party organisations access to their data. This could include organisations such as cloud storage providers, data analytics companies, and payment processors.
Third-party access to business data can be a necessary part of doing business. However, it is important to carefully consider the risks before granting third-party access to data. Businesses should make sure that third-party organisations have strong security measures in place to protect their data. They should also make sure that third-party organisations have a clear understanding of how the data will be used.
Businesses often use third-party vendors to provide services such as cloud storage, data analytics, and payment processing. These vendors may need access to some business data to provide their services. However, it is important to only give third-party vendors access to the data they need to provide their services. This means that third-party vendors should only have access to the data that is necessary for them to provide their services. For example, a cloud storage vendor that is storing customer data should only have access to the data that is needed to store the data.
There are some steps that businesses can take to protect their data, including:
By following these steps, businesses can help to protect their data from unauthorised access and the consequences that can follow.
In addition to the steps listed above, businesses should also consider educating employees about cybersecurity. Employees should be educated about cybersecurity risks and how to protect data. This includes training on how to create strong passwords, avoid phishing attacks, and report suspicious activity.
At TwentyFour IT, we understand that protecting your business data is important to you. That's why we offer a comprehensive range of cybersecurity services, including data security assessments, penetration testing, incident response, and cybersecurity training.
Our data security assessments will help you identify and mitigate security risks in your IT infrastructure. Our penetration testing will simulate a real-world cyberattack to test the security of your systems. Our incident response team will help you respond to and recover from a data breach. And our cybersecurity training will teach your employees how to protect your data from cyberattacks.