Top business and technology news media outlets are buzzing about the increasing number of major data breaches that have occurred so far in 2014 and see no slowdown in sight. On July 22, the Associated Press reported that Goodwill, the non-profit agency, which operates 2,900 stores in the U.S. said its computer systems had been hacked leading to the possible theft of customer credit and debit card information.
In the last year other major companies like Target, LinkedIn, eBay and Neiman Marcus have also been hacked. These incidents have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. Not only in the form of costs associated with of attempting to avoid or settling related law suits, but also the loss of consumer confidence and the tarnishing of their reputation.
The fact is, data breaches continue to be on the rise with the Identity Theft Resource Center reporting 395 data breaches in the U.S. this year which have been reported to regulators or covered by media outlets, a 21 percent increase over the same period last year.
But if data breaches cannot be avoided by large internet savvy companies like Target and eBay, what are the options for small to medium business owners who are dedicated to protecting their customers personal data? Computer data security expert Chris Finegan of Baltimore area MSP FullScope IT has a special empathy for the small to medium sized business owner. “When you’re running a business, your attention is pulled in a thousand different directions, but we’ve seen increasing interest in proactive security audits and now offer a package of security and network evaluations for business owners who want a ‘second opinion’ to bolster their confidence and the confidence of their customers.”
He explains, “A big part of our role during our security audit is customer education. IT management and security isn’t simple. Doing it well requires adopting a holistic view of the business and making sure that employees understand how to participate in security without leaving them hamstrung with burdensome practices.” He adds, “We work with clients to take ownership of their assets and processes as a trusted partner. That includes things like ensuring computers and storage media are secured (and encrypted if necessary), files and email are protected during employee transitions, and sensitive data is thoroughly wiped or destroyed when old computers are replaced.”
Finegan says, “While every company can benefit from them, it’s especially important that medical practices and financial institutions take prompt and effective action to secure their environments. The first step in that process is a thorough evaluation of what’s currently in place. By providing our second opinion audits, we not only improve productivity and security, we also free up staff to focus on running and growing their companies. A lot of folks see IT as an expense. Done well, it’s a huge benefit and competitive advantage. Done poorly, it’s a distraction, a money sink, and a legal and financial risk.”
To find out more about Chris Finegan and FullScopeIT visit: FullScopeIT.com