Why Companies Should Prioritize Transparency
Post-Breach Disclosure Risks: Why Companies Should Prioritize Transparency
In today’s digital age, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” an organization will experience a data breach. With cyber threats becoming more complex and sophisticated, data breaches are becoming increasingly common, with half of the organizations experiencing one in 2022. Despite constant warnings from cyber authorities that post-breach disclosures are necessary for organizations to improve their security posture, many still choose to withhold information.
Reputational Damage and Financial Impacts: Top Concerns for Companies
According to Kenny Riley, CEO of Velocity IT in McKinney, TX, “Transparency is key in building trust with customers, vendors, and shareholders. The more transparent organizations are with their cybersecurity practices, the more secure they will become. This can ultimately lead to better business outcomes.”
Robert Giannini, CEO of GiaSpace (https://giaspace.com/it-services-ocala/), agrees that “Data breaches are no longer a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ It’s not a matter of whether a company will experience a breach, but how it will respond to it. By prioritizing transparency, organizations can mitigate the damage and build trust with their stakeholders.”
However, Arctic Wolf’s recent report revealed that nearly three-quarters of breached organizations opted not to disclose the information, with IT professionals citing reputational damage, career impact, potential follow-up breaches, insurance premium hikes, and a lack of legal obligations as their top reasons for not doing so. While these concerns are valid, they ultimately do more harm than good. The lack of transparency prevents organizations from learning and implementing better security practices and puts them at risk for future incidents.
Troy Drever, CEO of Pure IT in Calgary, notes that “A breach doesn’t just impact an organization’s reputation; it also puts its customers and partners at risk. By being transparent, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to security and take the necessary steps to protect their stakeholders.”
Removing the Stigma Around Data Breach Disclosure
Despite the challenges of data breach disclosure, organizations need to realize that they are not alone. No company is immune to cyber incidents, and a breach should not be seen as a sign of weakness. Instead, transparency can help organizations show their commitment to security and demonstrate that they take the issue seriously. By being transparent, organizations can also build trust with customers, partners, and stakeholders.
To remove the stigma around data breach disclosure, organizations need to shift their mindset from one of blame and shame to one of transparency and learning. Instead of focusing solely on the negative consequences of a breach, companies should also focus on the positive outcomes that can come from transparency. For example, by being transparent, organizations can identify the root cause of the breach and take steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Ransomware: The Top Cybersecurity Concern
Ransomware remains the top cybersecurity concern for organizations in 2023, according to the Arctic Wolf report. More than two in five organizations surveyed reported being hit by a ransomware attack last year. In response, many companies are paying the ransom, despite warnings against it. The report found that nearly three-quarters of organizations impacted by ransomware attacks last year paid some part of the ransom either directly or through their insurance provider. While the circumstances surrounding each attack may be different, paying the ransom only fuels the ransomware economy and does not guarantee that the attackers will decrypt the data.
Instead of paying ransoms, organizations should focus on preventing ransomware attacks from happening in the first place. This can be achieved through a combination of employee education, implementing strong security measures, such as multi-factor authentication and network segmentation, and regular backups of critical data. By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, organizations can reduce the risk of falling victim to ransomware attacks and minimize the potential impact of a breach.
Prioritizing Transparency in the Face of Cyber Threats
In conclusion, data breach disclosure and transparency are critical for organizations to mitigate cyber threats and improve their security posture. With cyber incidents becoming increasingly common, no company is immune to the risk. While concerns such as reputational damage and financial impacts are valid, they should not prevent organizations from being transparent. By being upfront about data breaches, companies can build trust with customers and stakeholders and take proactive steps to prevent future incidents.
As Kenny Riley, Robert Giannini, and Troy Drever have demonstrated, industry leaders recognize the importance of transparency in building trust and mitigating cyber risks. The key to success is to prioritize transparency and shift the focus from blame to learning. By doing so, companies can identify and address the root cause of security incidents, implement better security practices, and ultimately improve their security posture.
With ransomware attacks on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to focus on prevention and mitigation strategies. By taking a proactive approach, companies can reduce the risk of falling victim to ransomware and other cyber threats.
In summary, transparency is key in the fight against cyber threats. Companies that prioritize transparency and take a proactive approach to cybersecurity will be better equipped to mitigate risk and protect their stakeholders.