Boosting our immunity
We all like to think our immune system will help protects us from disease and illness. Many of us do things to protect our immune system – healthy diet, regular exercise and so on, in an attempt to ward off the ever-present viruses that circulate. It’s something we take seriously, and rightly so.
We aren’t as good at taking care of our immunity to cyber-viruses and having our personal data breached, however. And we should be – more so these days than ever before, as reports show that cybercrime is increasing faster than the National Fraud Agencies can keep up with it.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that individuals are 10 times more likely to be a victim of cybercrime than theft ‘in person’ and 35 times more likely than robbery, and that targeted groups include those in management roles, middle age (34 to 44) and higher earning households.
Cybercrime is on the rise
Fact. If they didn’t before, companies are being forced to take IT security and customer personal data security very seriously as a result of GDPR. And rightly so. But hackers are smart and, crucially, often one step ahead of businesses.
Consumer reports suggest we are likely to trust certain sectors more with our data – banks, credit card companies and insurance companies. The same reports suggest we really don’t trust retailers on or offline or social media companies, and there have been many examples to back up why we shouldn’t – Ticketmaster, Dixons Carphone, Adidas, Facebook, Yahoo to name a few – yet we hand over so much so readily to them!
Every week, most of us hand over personal data willy-nilly – installing new apps on our smartphones, ordering online through sites we’ve never heard of or used before, agreeing to an email receipt when purchasing in a store (becoming more and more frequent), signing up to special offers or incentives via our email addresses. And let’s be honest, we do it without a second thought and rarely actually read that privacy notice that we must agree to, do we?! In a perfect world, it shouldn’t be an issue. But this is far from a perfect world.
Shouldn’t we all be a bit more judicious about how much personal data we freely share?
Yes, the onus is on the company with whom we are dealing to protect our data and make sure their IT systems are robust enough to make it difficult for hackers, but surely the consumer plays a part too?
OK, no one is suggesting it is your fault that your credit card details are breached by purchasing something in a store, but, if your personal internet security just isn’t all that secure, then you are opening the doors to cyber attackers and welcoming them to come in and take a look. And would you even spot it had happened?
Coupled with that, if you readily sign up to offers, incentives, trials and so on you are readily sharing your own personal data with more and more companies. Dealing with the aftermath of a breach at a personal level can be difficult, and take time to recover from. Not unlike any other attack to your own immune system. It’s good to take care of your health. It’s also good to take care of your personal data.
Our advice is that all businesses must have a robust and clear data security policy which should be communicated to everyone within the company. If you need help drafting those policies and giving you advice on how to protect your data, contact us!