After 15 plus years in the industry, I now find myself in a role that is interesting and always, eye-opening as I work along side a team of cybersecurity experts chartered with the task of protecting organizations from the world’s most devastating data breaches. In this role, I’ve observed a similarly interesting (and worrisome) trend. No longer do attackers exclusively target the business operations of corporations. In 2017 we increasingly witnessed and felt the impact of cyber attacks on consumers. This in mind I’ve taken on a personal crusade to educate both businesses and consumers on the need to be vigilant in protecting personal data.
For example, the Equifax data breach which impacted upwards of 143 million Americans and the WannaCry ransomware attack in May which impacted over 200,000 victims worldwide are just two recent cyber attacks that didn’t stop with the organizations holding the information. These data breaches extended to you and me — the consumers who trusted these organizations to protect our data.
Why is it important to be aware of these risks? Well there are a couple of reasons. One, knowing the increased risk as consumers, we need to demand that the organizations we give our business take the precautionary measures required to protect our personal data. It is important that our voices are heard and that they know we’ll take our business elsewhere if they don’t. And two, as consumers we need to have a plan B. We need a strategy in place to protect our financial and personal data in the case the organizations we have entrusted with our information experience a breach.
While Axiad IDS successfully helps organizations large and small protect themselves and their stakeholders from data breach — today it isn’t enough to simply trust. Organizations require a response plan to maintain relationships with consumers in the event of a successful data breach and similarly, consumers need to be proactive in protecting their personal data with a back-up plan (there are many different identity protection plans on the market today).
Compiling the Risk…
Another area that has popped up due to increased cyber risk is the supply chain. At no other point in history have we been so dependent on technology for every aspect of business operations. This said when an attacker takes down a technology provider — it has a ripple effect that not only interrupts dependent businesses relying upon the provider, but it also puts customer data at risk. For this and so many other reasons, businesses and consumers alike need to proactively protect data from breach.
Whether you are a business or a consumer, my advice to you would be to set a goal in 2018 to put a cybersecurity plan in place. Especially for consumers, it is better to be vigilant and invest in a personal cybersecurity plan as a precautionary measure rather than scrambling to restore your identity because you weren’t prepared.
My career is focused on protecting private and public sector organizations from cybersecurity risks. Thankfully this experience has given me the knowledge to protect myself as a consumer. I’ll look forward to sharing more tips and insights in the new year and I’d love to hear from you, too. What are you doing to protect yourself and your families in 2018?
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Monica Nascimento is the Vice President of Solutions Marketing at Axiad IDS. Axiad IDS provides trusted identity and access solutions allowing customers to: safely interact online; the freedom to access information from anywhere; and the confidence to fully benefit from today’s digital world.
To consult with an Axiad IDS security expert, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org