According to the annual “Cost of a data breach” report by IBM and Ponemon Institute,
“In the United States, data breach costs a company an average of $8.19 million, an increase from $7.91 million in 2018. The costs are also more than twice the global average.”
The report also states that the effect is felt for years, even after the initial cyber attack. A clear example is the case of Equifax. Even though the cyber attack happened on Equifax two years ago, the company is still feeling the repercussions of the attack.
So what are the measures you’ve taken to reduce your chances of being attacked by cybercriminals? Is your expense management software safe from a data breach? Here, we talk about data breach and its repercussions. We will also look into the practices to be followed to ensure the security of your expense management software.
Data breach and the threats it brings along
A data breach occurs when a cybercriminal gains unauthorized entry into your corporation’s database. When an attacker gains an entry point into your system, he/she can have access to all your data. Attackers can access data such as passwords, corporate credit card numbers, employee’s social security number, banking information, and other sensitive and private information. The stolen pieces of information can then be sold or used for identity theft and fraudulent activities.
In an event of a data breach, it can affect a wide aspect of your company. It can be in terms of
- Financial loss
As a consequence of a data breach, companies face a substantial financial loss. Based on the nature of cyberattacks, the companies have to address the various economic problems arising due to it. Companies also have to incur enormous costs to contain the breach itself. Lastly, affected customers have to be compensated, and the cost of security needs to be heightened, as well.
The data breach can also lead to a decrease in the share valuation (estimated value of the company and its stocks).
- Taint in reputation
In today’s well-connected and digital world, news travels fast. People who haven't even heard of the company will likely get to hear about it within hours or minutes. A data breach can be embarrassing for a company, especially if it was an avoidable one. The company can quickly accumulate negative reviews. Users can also start to distrust the company if personal data has been compromised.
- Disruption in operation
The effect of a data breach can have significant consequences on the operational activities of the company. From the initial investigation to the recovery process, it can have an impact on the way your business functions. Depending on how severe the attack is, the victim of the attack can take a long time to recover.
- Legal consequences
If a breach results in an individual’s data getting leaked, it can lead to lawsuits. This leads to the company having to pay tens to millions of dollars for settlements. Also, all the legal fees incurred by the business can result in higher costs than accounted for. In some cases, certain constraints are levied on the business activity of the company. This can cause long term issues.
How can big data strengthen your expense management process?
Measures to ensure security and control breach of expense management software
As the role of digitization increases, more and more companies have adopted modern technology, such as an expense management software. An expense management software houses your employee expense reports and company travel and expense details. Therefore, businesses should be careful while picking an expense management solution. This step should be taken to identify and assess risks that can potentially expose your system to cyber-attacks.
Hackers or cybercriminals can use phishing, malware, social engineering, or related techniques to steal information from you. Your expense management software holds data like employee names and details, corporate credit card information, transaction statements, business-related activities, and financial history. With such important business data at your disposal, you should probably consider fortifying you and your company’s system.
Safeguard the security of your company’s hardware
Though the majority of the data leakage happens with the hackers attacking remotely, physically accessing devices to steal data is still apparent. Securing your company’s hardware should not be overlooked. Loss or theft of these devices can cause severe problems, and you should be aware of it.
One of the basic strategies is to protect devices with strong passwords. In addition to that, access to your expense management software should be safeguarded with a strong password, as well.
Encrypt your sensitive data
When you have access to sensitive information such as employee details and business data, you should make sure it does not fall into the wrong hands. Sensitive and private data should be kept safe and away from online cyber-attacks. This can be done by encrypting your data. Encrypting your data can render the stolen information useless for the hacker even if he gains access to it. You can use a VPN that completely hides the identity and encrypts data to save your business from any attack. Ideally, all employees should have access to a secure and affordable VPN connection.
Besides keeping data at a secure place like a hard drive, you should understand the importance of a website's security. Hence, a proper SSL certificate should be there to protect in-transit data. To do so, an organization can choose a single domain or buy wildcard SSL certificate or multi domain as per website's requirement. It will be a low cost deal nowadays to buy SSL certificate.
Whether your data is stored in a PC or sent over online, data encryption is a critical move to protect your data. Research by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications highlights that data encryption remains the “most efficient fix” to a data breach. Encrypt all your data by implementing a full-disk encryption software in your operating system.
1. Encrypted data should be backed up regularly to avoid data loss in case the disk crashes or gets corrupted.
2. Passwords for accessing the encrypted data should also be mindfully stored. The encrypted data cannot be accessed without the right credentials.
Invest in a cybersecurity insurance
In the event of a data breach, you can mitigate the risk by investing in cybersecurity insurance. The best type of security is when your system is fortified with layers to stand against different kinds of attacks. Having cybersecurity insurance can be considered as one of those layers.
Look for suitable insurance policies that cover all the risks and threats arising from the cyberattacks and hacks. This can prove to be a good investment for your company, as it can reduce the damages and help you stay in business even after the aftermath.
Make use of a robust anti-malware software
Anti-malware software can be used to protect privacy, bank details, and the health of your devices. It is also used to identify and prevent malicious software incoming from the web.
Nowadays, there are several anti-malware software with a vast array of security features. Anti-malware software tools and programs offer firewalls, anti-spam, email protection, SPF flattening, phishing, and web browsing protection. These security features can help you to keep your company safe from the attacks of hackers.
In the end
Your expense management software holds a lot of valuable information. It is crucial to make sure that this information does not fall into the wrong hands. Dealing with a data breach can be a long and stressful ordeal. It can also be a painful and nightmarish experience for the company and the associated stakeholders. In addition to that, it can paint a bad image of your company if an individual’s personal information is leaked.
Fortunately, you can always prevent or try to contain a data breach before it gets worse. By making use of strong passwords, anti-malware, and encryption technology, you can protect your expense management software. An added layer of protection with cybersecurity insurance can also save your business from spending more than what is necessary in case of a breach.
Taking preventive measures and staying prepared can always help mitigate future risks. Additionally, it is always wise to invest in a robust software that keeps your company data safe and sound!