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Top 5 tactics to avoid the costs of a data breach

By Ria Manzanero


October 2, 2023

Data breaches are rapidly becoming an unavoidable expense for businesses across the globe. In fact, a recent study by IBM revealed that over 83% of organisations have experienced one.

What is a data breach?

What is a data breach, you ask? A data breach is a security violation that results in the leakage or loss of private, sensitive or confidential information. This could be information belonging to your business, your employees or your customers.

There are various unfriendly costs associated with a data breach. The cost of the breach itself. The cost of your team’s time and productivity. The cost of losing business as your customers lose trust in you. Oh, and the inevitable legal costs that come with handling all of the above mentioned.

The average cost of all cyber security breaches is climbing year on year. For businesses in the UK, there is an average cost of $3.88 million per breach, according to IBM’s data breach study.

To make matters worse, a subsequent 60%  of small companies go out of business within six months of a cybersecurity breach – making this one of the largest threats to business owners in the modern day.

Whilst these statistics might feel like a hard pill to swallow, there is hope. With the right tactics in place, your business can avoid falling victim to cyber crime. In this article, we will be sharing our top 5 tactics to avoid the costs of a data breach.

How much does the average data breach cost?

The cost of a data breach for businesses in the UK can vary widely depending on several factors, including the scale of the breach, the industry, the size of the company, and the effectiveness of the company’s response and mitigation efforts. However, various studies and reports provide insights into the average cost of a data breach in the UK for businesses.

According to the IBM’s “Cost of a Data Breach Report,” the average total cost of a data breach in the UK for businesses was approximately £3.4 million in 2023. This cost includes a combination of direct expenses and indirect costs associated with the breach. Direct expenses encompass activities like incident response, forensic investigations, legal consultations, notification and communication with affected individuals, and regulatory compliance. Indirect costs may include reputational damage, customer churn, loss of business opportunities, and potential legal actions.

It’s important to note that these costs can vary significantly based on different factors:

  1. Company Size:
    Generally, larger companies tend to experience higher costs due to the larger number of records exposed and the complexities of managing a breach.
  2. Industry:
    Certain industries, such as healthcare and financial services, tend to have higher breach costs due to the sensitive nature of the data they handle.
  3. Response Time:
    Swift and effective response and containment efforts can help mitigate the overall cost of a data breach.
  4. Notification Requirements:
    The number of individuals affected and the legal and regulatory requirements for notifying them can impact costs.
  5. Data Sensitivity:
    The type of data breached (e.g., personal information, financial data, health records) can influence the potential financial impact.
  6. Reputation Damage:
    Rebuilding trust and reputation can be a significant long-term cost for businesses.

How to avoid the costs of a data breach

1.        Employee Cyber Security Training

Making sure your team are cyber-aware is one the best ways to avoid a data breach. By providing thorough and regular training, your team can be equipped to detect and respond to a cyber security breach before it has the chance to do any damage.

Employee cyber security training

There are various advanced tools and e-learning platforms that you can use to strengthen your staff’s knowledge on cyber security. Generally, these tools will educate your team without them even knowing by sending fake phishing emails and tests that will teach your team what to look out for. These tools will provide you with a comprehensive report on your team’s overall cyber security awareness – and the areas they need to scrub up on.

If working with an IT support provider, like Virtuoso, this training can be setup and conducted on your behalf. We work with our customers to provide regular advanced training that ensures their staff are always aware of the latest scamming techniques.

2.       Introduce Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) is a simple yet brilliant way to prevent cyber criminals from infiltrating sensitive company data. We encourage all our customers to implement MFA, as it’s quick and easy.

Multi-factor Authentication

In short, MFA will ask your staff to introduce multiple ways of verifying their identity when accessing a platform or system holding company data. This could be in the form of an OTP (one-time password) sent to their phone, or a unique code sent to their MFA application. This tactic means that even if a cyber criminal were to get hold of your employees’ username and password, they wouldn’t be able to access systems without also obtaining their personal device – making it an effective method of protection.

If you want more information on MFA and how to use it, we’ve got a helpful blog surrounding MFA and 2FA scams that might support you.

3.       Protect devices with an endpoint manager

Sure, MFA can act as a barrier between cyber criminals and your apps and devices. But what about the devices themselves? It’s vital that you also protect your employees’ devices so that you have that extra layer of protection in place.

With so many businesses embracing hybrid workstyles today, the loss and theft of devices is more likely than ever, as commuters shift their laptops from the office and back home again more regularly.

Protecting endpoints

An endpoint management solution will enable you to secure and manage all endpoint devices without physically obtaining them. This means that in the case a device falls into the wrong hands, you will have the ability to block access to confidential information and even wipe device memory.

With support from IT security experts, you could implement endpoint management and security tools that will ensure your devices are protected from data breaches.

4.      Quarantine phishing emails

It will come as no surprise that phishing emails are the most common form of data breach, globally! According to worldwide research conducted by APWG,  there was a 15% increase in phishing attacks between 2021 and 2022; recording a total of 1,025,968 phishing attached in the first quarter of 2022.

Phishing emails

Fortunately, there are now advanced security tools that can help you detect emails that aren’t from a legitimate sender – and even quarantine them, so that they can’t even reach your inbox without your permission.

If you want to learn more about how to stop phishing emails and attacks in your business, we can help.

5.       Boost your cyber security posture

Data breaches (and all other forms of cyber crime, for that matter) can be a minefield. Our ever-changing technology environments make it impossible for us to keep up with the latest scams.

Luckily, there are experts who specialise in delivering bespoke cyber security services tailored to your business and the threats you may be facing.

IT Security Experts

At Virtuoso, we offer an advanced range of cyber solutions that support our customers in strengthening their security posture, whilst ensuring they are protected 24-hours a day. Our curated suite of cyber security tools and services are backed by internationally certified processes, to give our customers the peace of mind they need when it comes to their businesses data.

To find out more, or share your cyber worries, get in touch today. We’re waiting to hear from you!