The numbers from the July 2017 Equifax data breach are staggering: Over 143 million Americans had some form of personal identifying information stolen. It can look disheartening. Breach after breach almost makes it seem like the best attempts to secure data are like grasping at straws.
But savvy business owners and companies should sit up and take notes of the fallout at Equifax, and use it as a classic lesson in what-not-to-do learning theory. Unless the valuation of your company dropping 33% (and likely to fall even farther) is something you desire.
How to avoid Equifax’s mistakes
- Do: Be open and honest with your customers and actively listen to their feedback. The trust that consumers place in a business directly correlates with where they put their money. In order to maintain that trust—act quickly to disclose important information, even if it will have fallout and make your company look bad.
- Don’t: Wait 5 weeks to disclose an issue that affects your stock price. Or allow executives to dump stock before the negative information is made public. Not only will the delay look suspicious to authorities, it will definitely anger customers. Most will acknowledge that a company “did it right” if they notify consumers quickly and honestly.
- Do: Have a tight grip on the security of company data. Whether you use servers hosted on-site or in the cloud, the security of that data is almost limitless in its value. Direct appropriate dollar spends toward your IT systems and cybersecurity to ensure you don’t compromise any customer or company data—whether it’s personal identifying information, financial or healthcare records.
- Don’t: Allow upgrades and patches to lapse. This is one of the top ways hackers steal information. Although Equifax reports that an earlier March breach was related to payroll software, the second hack in July (by the same cybercriminals) was through a known vulnerability in web software. The timeline of events released by Equifax and the stock dumps seems all to convenient, and will likely open the company up to legal fees and compensation that will have ripple effects long into the future.
Cyber Solutions Technologies can help your business with cybersecurity. For more information about consultation, contact Rick today.