Any cursory reader of the news can attest that data breaches are becoming increasingly common. In fact, 2017 had the highest number of data breaches of any year on record in the U.S. Generali Global Assistance (GGA) customers certainly have felt the effect of those widespread breaches: the number of GGA customers affected by data breaches has increased by an average of over 40% every year since 2011. It’s no wonder that few Americans express confidence in the security of everyday communication channels and their ability to keep their data private.
If the recent breaches of giant corporations known for their top-notch security (such as Verizon Enterprise and LastPass) have demonstrated anything, it’s that there is no 100% effective way to stop a data hacker and scammer. So, what could your company do to mitigate risk and increase customer confidence in your ability to protect their data? The answer is to be proactive, starting with a look inside your company at one of the most vulnerable entry points for a data hacker to access your systems – your employees.
Risk of Falling Victim to a Data Hacker
The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report states that phishing continues to be a top cause of data breaches. Phishing is form of social engineering in which an online message, with a malicious attachment or link, is sent to a recipient with the intent of tricking the reader to open it and/or disclose personally identifiable information (PII). The Report revealed that over 9,576 total phishing incidents were reported in just one year with 916 of those incidents leading to confirmed data disclosure. In a phishing test that Verizon conducted, 30% of phishing messages sent were opened by the target across all campaigns. Even scarier, nearly 12% went on to click the malicious attachment or link!
These figures underscore the importance of employee education. Hopefully, your company’s email filters will keep phishing messages from ever reaching employees. However, even military grade cyber security can’t always prevent a data breach if employees are not properly educated on how to identify and mitigate the risks of phishing attacks. It is key to provide employees with awareness training and information so they can identify a potential attack on your company’s network. They should also be given a mechanism or procedure to report suspected attacks. This will allow your company to observe how scammers are trying to gain access to your network and let your employees safely view suspicious messages they receive that turn out to be legitimate.
To get started, share these tips with your employees to help them identify potential phishing messages. Beware of any messages that contain the following:
- A URL hyperlinked that doesn’t match the URL displayed in the text
- The domain name of the sending email is off (example email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The message contains poor spelling or grammar
- You didn’t initiate the action in the email
- The sender asks you to email them login credentials
You should also look at ways to increase your customers’ trust in your company’s dedication to protecting their data and identities. It is becoming more challenging for organizations to stop a data hacker from infiltrating their systems, and identifying and protecting all vulnerabilities against a data breach can be like trying to shoot a moving target. This explains why even tech giants like PlayStation and Adobe couldn’t avoid becoming victims of them. While you may not be able to provide a 100% guarantee of the security of your customers’ data, offering identity protection services like mine helps prevent identity thieves from using stolen customer data should a breach occur and demonstrates your commitment to your customers’ peace of mind.
Moreover, data breaches can be quite costly. The total average organizational cost of data breach in the U.S. reached a new high in 2017 – of $7.35 million, according to a recent study by IBM. However, that same report revealed that organizations who offer programs, such as identity protection, that preserve customer trust and loyalty in advance of the breach experience a reduced number of amount of lost business/customers and the resulting associated costs of the breach are lower – by up to almost half.
To learn more about increasing customer retention and lowering associated data breach costs by offering GGA identity protection, request a demo.