Memos covering software and technology.

How Much Information Risk Exposure Do You Face?

Information risk is the probability that confidential electronically stored information could be accessed by an unauthorized party.

How Much Information Risk Exposure Do You Face?
Photo by Franck / Unsplash

Data storage in the business world has changed rapidly in a relatively short period of time. We have gone from filing cabinets filled with paper files and carbon copies to electronic documents stored on computers almost overnight. Just think of the personalized ads you see as you browse the web; big data in marketing has been revolutionary. This shift has created a massive security risk that many businesses have failed to realize. Private files are no longer secured in a locked filing cabinet, instead, they are stored on computers and devices accessible by massive networks and the Internet.

Managing electronic files has created a whole new threat to businesses.

Information risk is the probability that confidential electronically stored information could be accessed by an unauthorized party. Cases of information breaches have become more and more commonplace, even by major corporations. While not that long ago a company could use a single security solution for years at a time, today’s IT professionals are adapting to new threats on almost on a daily basis.

Here are three major exposures to your business related to information risk:

Unauthorized Access and Insider Theft

Unauthorized access can come from internal or external sources and involves the gain of information by unauthorized parties at the cost of your business. Most employees in these roles are required to sign intellectual property agreements, which indicates that policy alone does not prevent information loss. Therefore, a lack of proper enforcement of these information governance policies leads to information loss as well as talent loss.

Time and Money

This is the cost of repairing, reprogramming, patching and restoring systems after internal and/or external information breaches. Additionally, recovery from these events now takes an average of 24 days to complete. This is an especially significant cost considering not many IT managers budget time and money for data loss events.

Reputation and Trust

Damage to online reputation can take months to measure and can vary from negligible to the extreme. However, the reputational costs can have a lasting effect on income. Most states now require some sort of action or notification process to be in effect should unauthorized access to your information occur. Breaches to information can no longer be swept under the rug if your customer’s data has been compromised. This can be especially damaging to e-commerce businesses as most rely on customer trust in safely managing private data.

Reputational injury can be especially damaging for publicly traded companies. This loss can be even greater should there be a shareholder lawsuit against the company.

As information risk continues to grow for businesses of all sizes, computers and other connected devices appear less like tools of the convenience of more like liabilities. While some business owners may long for the days of filing cabinets and carbon copies, big data is here to stay. For many companies, information risk is no longer something that can be controlled with existing tools and resources.

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