The rise of the internet has meant big changes for modern businesses, offering them convenient communication, rapid information access and mass data storage at their fingertips. However while these benefits are incredibly advantageous, they are not without risk. The threat of unauthorised access is one of the major challenges of taking a business into the digital sphere, and can have devastating outcomes for those that do not protect themselves against the risk.
What is unauthorised access?
Put simply, unauthorised access occurs when a third party accesses your company information without permission. As unauthorised access is usually carried out with due intent, most cases are malicious and can result in dire consequences for the targeted organisation.
Why is it important to protect your business against the threat?
Below are three of the major reasons why protecting your business from unauthorised access should be at the top of your priority list:
- Audit and compliance
The information security landscape is constantly evolving which means that businesses are continually faced with ever changing legislative and regulatory guidelines that must be complied with. Businesses that do not comply with industry regulations face severe consequences that can have company crippling outcomes. For example, any business using a non-hosted card payment system must comply with full PCI-DSS requirements in order to ensure that their sensitive customer information is fully protected. The average small merchant fine for those that do not comply sits at around £15,000, with fines of up to £500,000 issued for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act. Should your business be audited, you will also need to be able to prove that you have sufficient security and data protection measures in place.
- Customer trust
As well as facing financial penalties, businesses that fall victim to unauthorised access risk losing the trust of their customers and severely tarnishing their public reputation. When the cases are high profile, the fallout can be extremely damaging. The British Pregnancy Advice Service is one of the latest organisations to fall victim to a malicious unauthorised access attack, targeted by a hacker who threatened to publish the names of thousands of people who had sought abortion, contraception and pregnancy advice. Not only was the organisation fined a huge £200,000 but it also lost the trust of the nation.
- Classified information
When classified company information such as business plans, marketing strategies and financial records fall into the wrong hands, the results can be disastrous. Such information is what gives businesses a competitive edge and if its confidentiality is jeopardised, the company’s bottom line will ultimately take the blow.
How can you mitigate the risk?
The most effective way to protect your organisation against the threat of unauthorised access is to ensure that you have a tried and tested security testing, audit and compliance (STAC) strategy in place. For a robust STAC strategy backed with a wealth of industry experience and global base of blue chip clients, NCC Group is the industry’s most relied on security service provider. Boasting the world’s largest security team and a unique set of skills, expertise and services, NCC penetration testing specialists offer round the clock incident response to businesses of all sizes. Check out the NCC Group site for a complete overview of the company’s comprehensive security services that are helping thousands of businesses across the globe mitigate the risk of unauthorised access.
Whether you are a small scale company or a multinational corporation, implementing an effective security testing, audit and compliance strategy should be an essential part of your business plan. Not only will it ensure you stay compliant and avoid fines but it will also help build customer trust and allow your business to retain its competitive edge.