Johannesburg, 28 Sep 2023
As the frequency of cyber attacks continues to surge, businesses are compelled to proactively mitigate the financial ramifications of data breaches. Barracuda Networks offers insights into how organisations can curtail the costs associated with data breaches.
Around the world there is a high priority in the pursuit of a knowledge and skills-based economy; the significance of data in propelling innovation, transformation and overall success cannot be overstated. Data plays a pivotal role in providing profound insights into consumer preferences and behaviours, identifying opportunities for process optimisation and even uncovering new avenues for revenue generation. Unfortunately, this value is not lost on cyber criminals. The recent surge in digital transformation, expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic, has effectively redefined, if not entirely dissolved, the conventional enterprise perimeter. The individuals and systems responsible for creating and consuming valuable data are no longer confined securely within the organisational confines. They now operate from anywhere, at any time, and through various devices and networks.
For cyber attackers, this shift implies that their focus need not be exclusively on penetrating robust firewalls and IT policies. Instead, they can target potentially vulnerable links, such as employees accessing sensitive data from local coffee shops. The success of such attacks is underscored by IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report for 2022, revealing that 83% of surveyed organisations reported experiencing multiple breaches. What is even more alarming for businesses is the report's finding that the average cost of a data breach has surged by 12.7% since 2020. The widespread adoption of remote work has further amplified the magnitude of data breaches. According to the report, breaches incurred an additional cost of $1 million on average when remote work was involved, compared to organisations not employing remote work. For Middle Eastern organisations, the reality is even grimmer, as the average cost per breach stands at $7.46 million, ranking second-highest globally.
Mitigating future breach costs: Considering these challenges, organisations can adopt several key measures to reduce the likelihood of breaches and, consequently, the costs associated with them:
1. Embrace a zero trust strategy:
Implement access control across users and devices, whether data is stored centrally, remotely or on cloud platforms to effectively safeguard access and data.
2. Protect data with backup and encryption:
Implement robust backup and encryption measures to minimise the chances of data theft or misuse. Attackers often target backups to hinder data recovery efforts. Remember to secure both on-premises and cloud/SaaS application data as part of the backup process, such as Microsoft 365.
3. Invest in XDR (extended detection and response) capabilities:
Organisations equipped with XDR capabilities can significantly shorten breach life cycles, reducing identification and containment time by about a month, resulting in a 10% faster response.
4. Enhance e-mail security:
Strengthen e-mail security to guard against cyber attacks, particularly those initiated through phishing e-mails aimed at capturing admin or user credentials. Ensure you choose an e-mail security solution equipped with AI capabilities for proactive threat detection and automated remediation.
5. Secure applications:
Deploy application security solutions that defend against web application vulnerabilities, including OWASP Top 10, zero-day exploits and brute force attacks, as applications often harbour open vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.
6. Establish and maintain an incident response playbook:
Prepare detailed incident response plans to guide actions in the event of a breach. Organisations with incident response plans reported significantly lower breach costs, leading to savings of 58%.
7. Addressing the breach challenge:
As organisations advance their ambitious digital transformation initiatives, cyber criminals are increasingly motivated to target their valuable data. Consequently, the costs associated with data breaches are poised to rise, posing substantial financial and reputational risks. However, data demonstrates that preventive measures can significantly reduce the overall financial burden and efforts required to address data breaches. Organisations that prioritise due diligence and fortify their cyber security defences can effectively mitigate the impact of breaches and safeguard their invaluable data assets.
“Barracuda Networks is committed to cost-effective solutions with a local presence within the Africa continent. The growth in SaaS solutions like Microsoft 365 means companies are now relying on third parties for e-mail, Teams communication and cloud storage. Without a sophisticated AI-based e-mail security and account takeover protection, as well as a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, you are leaving your company at risk,” states Ian Parker, Executive Product Manager at LOOPHOLD Security Distribution.