Companies must take security warnings seriously

November 14, 2012

Despite reports that more cybercriminals are targeting company networks, a new survey suggests that many professionals are not taking data breach warnings seriously.

The State of Cyber Security Readiness report, conducted by Ponemon Institute and commissioned by security firm Faronics, polled executives from small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and the U.K about computer risks. Experts found that many organizations lack cybersecurity awareness and do not understand how damaging a breach can be to their reputations, the Financial Post reported.

According to the survey, the top three threats to U.S. companies were increases in unstructured data (69 percent), unsecured third party vendors (65 percent) and not knowing where data is stored (62 percent). Fifty-six percent of U.K. respondents also cited the lack of security placed on devices as a major concern.

Dr. Larry Ponemon, the founder of Ponemon Institute, said that if employers do not put preventative measures in place, they may experience an interruption in business that could result in damaging consequences. According to the source, 42 and 38 percent of U.S. and U.K. respondents respectively lost customers after a breach, while 35 and 31 percent of U.S. and U.K. companies were hit with a blow to their reputations.

Decision-makers should not wait until it is too late to take action. If an IT department does not have strict policies in place, it may leave employees vulnerable to attacks. By taking precautions, business owners can ensure that their companies won't suffer long-term effects.

Experts suggest educating IT departments on proper ways to mitigate cybercriminals, and warning users about new threats. Installing firewalls and network security software should also be a top priority to protect information.

-McAfee Cloud Security