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The Confident SMB

How Much Would A Data Breach Cost Your SMB?

Created: 08 Mar 2011
Blake M's picture
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Reputation is everything and with personal and workplace communications continuously merging, it is becoming an even greater challenge for SMBs to protect their business data. With newsmakers such as WikiLeaks and other high-profile breaches over the last several months, you never know where your information will end up if it lands in the wrong hands – so of course, you must protect it.

According to the sixth annual Ponemon report, 2010 Annual Study: U.S. Cost of a Data Breach, sponsored by Symantec, for the first time, malicious or criminal attacks are no longer the least common cause of data breaches, but they are the most expensive. While malicious attacks are on the rise, organizations are more proactively protecting themselves from hostile threats. But, this shouldn’t overshadow the impact that negligence has on an organization. Negligence remains the most common cause of data breaches at 41 percent.

These findings reinforce Symantec’s advice for SMBs – training and awareness programs are crucial. After data breaches, organizations often consider a number of possible remedies to protect confidential and sensitive data as part of an enterprise data protection strategy.

Training and awareness programs remained the most popular ways to prevent breaches according to the study, with nearly two-thirds of respondents using them. Expanded use of encryption stayed the most popular technology solution and, with 61 percent, took sole possession of second place this year.

In order to protect your SMB’s data, here are some best practices from the Cost of the Data Breach Report (PDF) for you to consider:

1. Assess risks by identifying and classifying confidential information

2. Educate employees on information protection policies and procedures, then hold them accountable

3. Deploy data loss prevention technologies which enable policy compliance and enforcement

4. Proactively encrypt laptops to minimize consequences of a lost device

5. Integrate information protection practices into businesses processes

And last, but not least, Symantec and Ponemon have put together this great free tool – the Data Breach Risk Calculator. This quick Q&A calculates your SMB’s risk of a data breach, and how much that breach will cost based on questions that are directed towards your business type. Go ahead – take a few minutes and calculate your data breach risk. This information will be most helpful, especially when justifying the cost for software that protects your business.