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Secure Your Business From Data Breaches

Identity theft is increasing on a global scale, with financial information and client records considered foundational data for cyber criminals that indulge in this practice, whether for strict financial gain or use in fraudulent transactions. The normal practice is that harvested data is used to create other accounts (such as bank, email or other) or indeed continue using existing accounts but changing passwords to prevent legitimate access.

Small to medium enterprises obviously store both financial and health information and are prime targets for hackers. In August 2014. These criminals do not care about your business information but focus more on your personal details such as date of birth, address, etc., using them for services or credit applications.

Australia has had its fair share of data breaches. In 2012, ransomware (software that locks down a computer until a ‘ransom’ is paid using an untraceable digital currency such as Bitcoin) was used to compromise the operations of a Gold Coast medical centre.

Luckily, with a little knowledge and some forward planning, you can protect your medical practice from most of these data breaches. I say most, as even large enterprises are successfully breached by highly skilled hackers on occasion and few servers can continue operation if thousands of hackers launch a simultaneous attack.

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How To Fix A Data Breach: Fast And For Good

The Australian Federal Government this week launched the annual Stay Smart Online Week. In conjunction they have released the Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide. Business owners can use this guide to ensure they are following safe online practices, and have sufficient security in place to protect sensitive data from a potential breach.

This comes at a time when businesses, organisations and government departments are increasingly being subject to data breaches on a regular basis. Yet in what is a growing concern, there appears to be little consensus about what entities should do once a breach is discovered.

Defining a data breach is an exercise in itself. At its core, it refers to an unauthorised access of information on a computer or network. Hacking is the most common example, however the guidelines below apply not just to data breaches but to instances of online bullying, defamation, threats and similar problems in the digital space.

So who should you call when you want to investigate a data breach? The straight answer is that it all depends on what you want to achieve.

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A plan, some understanding and a few resources can keep the bad guys away…

Every business, whether large or small, needs to have a customer-facing website these days, and in the past twelve months Australians spent $17.5 billion on online retail sales. In fact, according to Avast Software, online shopping is Australia’s number one online activity, social media, banking and emailing…before we get down to adult content, illegal torrent sites and checking the weather forecasts, which are also in the top ten.

While this level of online activity is great for commerce in Australia, it also brings with it a host of problems – potentially very damaging ones. Companies and web developers know that a website needs security, but many business owners do not understand the depth of online threats that exist, and the ever-evolving complexity of attacks.

Regardless of whether a website sells directly to the public, or simply exists as a tool to host marketing information and contact details, an attack can be disastrous to business credibility and continuity. Imagine a client happily selling from the web one minute, then having to contact an entire customer base and explain that their security has been compromised. Payment details may have fallen into the hands of criminals, a foreign entity may be blackmailing the company or perhaps there has been a malicious attack and sales can’t continue as the online inventory is down.

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