The threat of cyber attacks has existed since data went digital, but it seems as though the significance of cyber security has significantly increased in recent years. So, what exactly is driving this spike in cyber attacks today? Money, according CEO of Evident ID David Thomas.
Inside Counsel sat down with Thomas to explore the evolution of cyber security. Criminals can easily monetize the data they are stealing either by leveraging it themselves for fraudulent activity, or by selling it. Either way, they are getting paid. And, their opportunity is enormous because companies are handling and collecting more and more personal information. A hacker only has to find one vulnerability - one small lapse - and can potentially get access to volumes of sensitive personal data.
“Any security breach should be taken seriously,” he explained. “The potential damage to a business’s reputation and credibility with its users is difficult to replace, no matter the scale or depth of a breach.”
That being said, in considering the degrees of severity of breaches, we should look at the volume and type of information that is stolen as well as the impact on those that are affected. For example, stealing billions of email addresses and passwords is a serious threat with many ramifications, but the theft of millions of users’ Social Security numbers and identities is devastating in ways that will be felt for years to come.
So, what type of proactive steps can firms take to protect their client's data?
Companies need to reevaluate the way they store and manage sensitive personal data, per Thomas. They can now acquire the verified personal data they need without having to hold or manage personally identifiable information (PII) in one place. Any centralized database holding personal information will be vulnerable to a breach. The only way to prevent that is to find a streamlined solution that allows businesses to connect to the data that is needed to operate without requiring them to be responsible for holding and protecting that data within their infrastructure.
“Companies should work with partners that will proactively help them get the business answers they need while reducing their overall risk. More than likely, this will mean changing the way a business is currently obtaining and holding personal data,” he explained.
The traditional security infrastructure and centralized database approach are no longer secure. In the digital world, businesses need to evolve their thinking to a solution that easily integrates with their system, gives them opportunity to get more information, and removes the risk that comes with every personal data interaction.
Unfortunately, the threat of a cyber attack will always be there. The bad guys are getting smarter and actively looking for opportunities to access large volumes of data with the least amount of effort.
Thomas advises, “The only way for a business to decrease the risk of a cyber attack is to make cybersecurity a priority and change the way personal data is currently acquired, shared and stored.”