Data breaches have been getting more attention over the last several years, and for good reason. The number of data breaches has been steadily increasing year after year. In 2016, it’s estimated that over 37 million personal data records were exposed in data breaches in the United States alone. The largest data breach in history was also uncovered in 2016, although it occurred several years earlier. The hackers that targeted Yahoo in 2014 were able to get their hands on personal information for nearly 3 billion user accounts.
Based on this information alone, it’s not hard to understand why data breaches are getting more attention. But unfortunately, despite how bad the current state of cybersecurity may seem, experts are predicting that it’s only going to get worse in the near future. Here are some of the reasons why:
Companies can easily protect their data if they know what type of attack to expect. But, the problem is that the attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and unpredictable. Many of the criminals hacking into companies’ networks are no longer working independently. Some of these criminals band together with other hackers to plan and launch sophisticated attacks that companies are not equipped to defend themselves against. Other hackers are even backed by foreign governments with unlimited resources, which means they have the time and financial incentives to plan intricate attacks.
Because of this, companies must assume that they are never safe. It’s important for companies to always be on their toes, working towards innovative solutions that can be used to protect their sensitive data. If they don’t take this approach, these sophisticated attacks can significantly damage their business.
Some companies are victims of data breaches even though they have spent millions of dollars investing in cybersecurity. Why? It could be because a lot of the data breaches that target these companies are inside jobs. No matter how much a company spends on protecting their network from outsiders, this won’t stop someone on the inside from accessing the data. Companies must establish plans to prevent inside attacks launched by employees, contractors, and system administrators. But, many of them do not even know how to detect insider attacks, let alone prevent them. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Haystax Technology revealed that 38% of companies do not have a way to detect inside jobs. Preventing these attacks is just as important as preventing outside attacks, but unfortunately, many companies don’t realize this until it is too late.
Companies Are Investing in the Wrong Places
Some companies are ignoring the problem altogether, but others are making a genuine effort to prevent data breaches. However, the companies that are investing in cybersecurity are still being targeted by hackers. Why? It could be because these companies are not investing in the right places.
Decision makers often think the best way to protect sensitive data is to invest heavily in protecting the network. This seems logical, but it’s actually not the best approach to take. It’s true that the network should be protected, but because today’s attacks are so sophisticated, every company should assume that their perimeter will be breached at some point. It’s how you protect the data behind this wall that matters. But, many companies are confident that their investment into protecting the perimeter will pay off. Therefore, they feel as if there is no need to use additional resources to protect the data behind the wall.
Even though cybersecurity awareness is growing, this won’t prevent future attacks unless decision makers are willing to listen to IT experts and implement their recommendations.
There’s Too Much Data
Another reason why experts think the number of data breaches will continue to grow is because there is simply too much data to protect. It’s estimated that there are around 11 billion devices currently connected to the internet. This number is expected to grow to 80 billion by the year 2025. Since each device that connects to the internet contains some type of data, it is becoming harder and harder for consumers and businesses to protect all of it.
Companies that collect data often don’t have systems in place to keep it safe. Even if the data is initially stored in a protected area, it often gets copied or transferred to other departments or employees, where it becomes vulnerable to attacks. Think of all of the businessmen and women who are currently traveling with thumb drives full of data in their luggage. If even one of these thumb drives went missing, sensitive data could fall into the wrong hands. But, that’s what happens when large amounts of data are passed back and forth between employees, consumers, or organizations.
There is a serious shortage in cybersecurity professionals. As a matter of fact, experts predict that the number of open cybersecurity jobs will reach 3.5 million by the year 2021. For this reason, companies may have a hard time finding reliable and knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals to protect their confidential data. Even if help is available, some businesses may not be able to afford it since these professionals will undoubtedly begin to charge more for their services as demand continues to increase.
Companies should do everything they can to prevent data breaches, which includes working with a reputable e-waste recycler. ERI is the leading recycler of e-waste and is certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). Clients that send their e-waste to one of our facilities can rest easy knowing their data will be completely destroyed so it never falls into the hands of an unauthorized user. For more information on recycling your electronics, or to request a quote for your company, contact us today.