Fraud and identity theft existed long before the internet was even conceived. However, as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) points out, networking technologies have made these crimes much easier to carry out on a broad scale. As individuals and businesses across the globe increasingly rely on these technologies for their day-to-day routines, cyber criminal activities have become an expensive burden.
In a June 2014 report, McAfee estimates the annual cost of criminal activities online at approximately $400 billion. In the U.S. alone, incidents have affected more than 40 million individuals, and the economic losses associated with these events may have cost the country as many as 200,000 jobs
Of course, as criminal activity has taken to the internet, so too has law enforcement. For instance, the DHS claims that the Cyber Intelligence Section of the Secret Service has been successful in enforcement pursuits leading to the conviction of hackers responsible for more than $600 million in credit card theft.
Still, relying on law enforcement initiatives as protection against cyber crime is far from an effective strategy for reducing risk. Instead, organizations and individuals must be diligent and follow cyber security best practices in order to stay safe online.
Here are a few workable strategies you can employ for your organization:
- Real-time monitoring and incident response: Many companies set up antivirus and privacy protection programs, but don’t take further action to protect their data and resources. Effective prevention takes a much more active approach. With centralized, real-time monitoring and managed security services, companies can identify risks as they surface and take quick protective action.
- Privacy training and education: Security must be a top priority for organizations. And it can’t just be the IT department’s responsibility; all employees need to be involved. Through on-site privacy education programs, companies can get up to speed on protecting their valuable data, so that everyone understands their role.
- Corporate governance: Security programs require leadership from key stakeholders and an organized, repeatable plan with clearly defined roles. Yet many organizations don’t have the proper internal support for such a plan. That’s why it’s important to have a seasoned cyber security partner that understands how to enact an effective, sustainable strategy for the private and public sectors.