The last 12 months were rife with major data breaches. Incidents like the Epsilon breach that compromised an estimated 60 million email addresses, or the hack of the Sony PlayStation network that exposed data from more than 100 million user accounts made for sensational headlines, but they were more the exception than the rule.
Data breaches on a much smaller scale occur at small and medium businesses every day. A study by the Ponemon Institute—sponsored by Symantec—determined that the average cost per record for a data breach incident is $214.
The math is simple. A breach exposing as few as 1000 customer accounts could cost your company more than $200,000, money you could be investing in growing your business instead of trying to repair your reputation.
It’s a Small World
It’s hard enough to protect endpoint systems against all of the possible threats out there when those systems are connected to your office network. But it is even harder with today’s distributed workforce. While mobile users can be more flexible and productive—connecting their laptops from home offices, coffee shops, hotels, and airports—such mobility also raises two significant obstacles to protecting business data.
First, the free wireless networks found at public locations are generally not secure. With no encryption in place, the data being transferred to and from the endpoint PC can be easily intercepted by any other wireless device within range. Any sensitive data that is transmitted while the mobile user is connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot is at an increased risk of exposure or compromise.
The second issue is that it is much more difficult to monitor endpoint systems and ensure they are both in compliance with security policies and adequately protected against threats when those employees are on the road or connecting from remote locations. You may not know if they’re online, or when they might connect to the network again, yet you still have an obligation to secure the systems.
Lock Down Your Endpoints
The reality—even in the case of many major data breach incidents—is that the attacker is able to gain access to sensitive data by using malware to compromise a single PC. Endpoint systems that don’t have adequate protection are low-hanging fruit for attackers, offering vulnerabilities that the hackers can exploit to gain access to your data.
Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud provides the protection you need, while ensuring that users who connect remotely don't create security holes. Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud surrounds your endpoint PCs and prevents malware attacks and unauthorized access. Its arsenal includes antivirus and antispyware defenses, firewall protection, and host-intrusion prevention.
The antivirus and antispyware components detect and block attacks from known malware variants. Heuristic, or educated, detection enables the software to identify emerging threats based on criteria and behavior common to malware attacks. Because the protection is based in the cloud, remote endpoints receive updates automatically over the Internet to keep them current.
Firewall protection prevents unauthorized network traffic from entering your endpoint PCs, while host-intrusion prevention monitors activity within the system to identify suspicious activity and alert users. Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud also warns users when they encounter potentially dangerous websites.
If your organization has managed to avoid a data breach so far, you might want to ask yourself whether it’s because luck has simply been on your side or because you have taken the appropriate steps to protect your data. Without adequate controls in place to protect your systems, it s a matter of “when” rather than “if” you will experience a data breach.
This story, "New Year’s Resolution: Protect Your Business Data" was originally published by BrandPost.