Data Breach? Report It As Soon As Possible

Data Breach? Report It As Soon As Possible

We have observed a tendency among businesses to refrain from disclosing data breaches in an effort to protect their reputations. A recent collaborative statement by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) highlights that this reluctance inadvertently emboldens cybercriminals.

The concealment of such breaches only serves to bolster cybercriminals, leading to an increase in the frequency of attacks. Recognising this concerning trend, regulatory authorities in the UK have reached an agreement aimed at encouraging businesses to be more forthcoming about data breaches.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was recently signed between the ICO and the NCSC, outlining potential relief for businesses in the form of reduced fines if they promptly report breaches.

To delve deeper into the intricacies of this agreement and to explore proactive measures to safeguard your business against data breaches, continue reading.

Understanding the New MOU

On September 12, 2023, the CEO of the NCSC, Lindy Cameron, and the Information Commissioner, John Edwards, solidified their collaborative efforts by signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This significant document delineates the mutual cooperation between the two regulatory bodies in their shared objective of enhancing the UK’s digital resilience.

While maintaining their distinct roles and responsibilities, the MOU emphasises areas where the efforts of the ICO and the NCSC can converge to address common concerns and mitigate potential conflicts. Central to this collaboration is a collective focus on establishing and refining cybersecurity standards, crafting guidance, and advancing cyber protections for organisations under the purview of the ICO.

Commissioner John Edwards underscored the ongoing partnership and the objectives of this new agreement, stating:

“We already maintain close collaboration with the NCSC to provide businesses and organisations with the necessary tools, advice, and support to bolster their cybersecurity and ensure security. This Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms our commitment to enhancing the UK’s cyber resilience, thereby safeguarding individuals’ information online from cyber threats.”

A notable provision in the MOU encourages businesses to adopt greater transparency regarding cyber incidents. This provision outlines the ICO’s intention to promote engagement with the NCSC, particularly acknowledging organisations that responsibly disclose significant cyber incidents and actively collaborate with the NCSC. Additionally, the ICO commits to exploring ways to transparently demonstrate to businesses that meaningful interactions with the NCSC could lead to reduced regulatory penalties.

This provision signifies a shift in how businesses approach and manage cyber incidents. By actively involving the NCSC during cyber breaches, organisations can anticipate not only guidance and support but also potential leniency in regulatory consequences.

Proactive Measures to Safeguard Your Business Against Data Breaches

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023 conducted by GOV.UK revealed alarming statistics: the most disruptive breach over the past year incurred an average cost of £1,100 for businesses, irrespective of their size. For medium and large enterprises, this figure soared to approximately £4,960.

Given these stark numbers, the need for robust security measures is abundantly clear.

How can you protect yourself?

Utilise Anti-Spam Software:

The world is fraught with threats, with deceptive spam emails posing a significant risk. These seemingly harmless messages can harbour malware or lead recipients to phishing sites aimed at extracting sensitive information.

Anti-spam software serves as a vigilant barrier, meticulously scanning and filtering potential threats before they reach employees’ inboxes. By detecting and blocking malicious emails, this software ensures the integrity of the company’s communication channels.

Strengthen Defences with Advanced Firewalls:

In today’s cyber environment, businesses face constant threats from determined hackers and malicious software. Advanced firewalls function as robust barriers around the digital perimeter, scrutinising incoming and outgoing traffic to permit only legitimate connections.

These firewalls discern between safe and potentially harmful data, swiftly blocking any identified threats in real-time.

Secure Wi-Fi Networks:

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks present an enticing target for cybercriminals. Securing Wi-Fi networks ensures that all transmitted data remains shielded from unauthorised access.

Encrypting Wi-Fi signals adds an additional layer of protection against potential breaches. Furthermore, implementing strong, regularly updated passwords further deters unauthorised access.

Deploy Anti-Virus Software:

Businesses are perpetually vulnerable to viruses and malware, which can lurk within innocuous files, posing a threat to data integrity and operational continuity. Deploying robust anti-virus software provides a reliable defence against these invisible adversaries.

Top-tier antivirus software continuously scans for, detects, and neutralises malicious entities, safeguarding the organisation’s systems and data.

Establish a Disaster Recovery Plan:

While data breaches are undesirable, they remain a possibility. Crafting a comprehensive disaster recovery plan ensures that businesses are equipped to respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a breach.

This plan outlines actionable steps to restore operations, retrieve lost data, and communicate with stakeholders, facilitating a swift recovery from cyber incidents.

Prioritise Secure Data Storage:

Data is invaluable to businesses. Regular and secure data backups are essential safeguards against potential loss due to cyberattacks or system failures.

Consistently backing up websites and data ensures the availability of fail-safe copies of vital business information. Storing these backups in encrypted, secure locations, both onsite and in the cloud, mitigates the impact of cyber incidents, enabling swift recovery and minimal disruption.

Key Takeaway

The recent MOU between the ICO and the NCSC underscores the importance of transparency and proactive defence against breaches.

From implementing advanced firewalls to maintaining regular data backups, each proactive step enhances the organisation’s digital resilience. Mansys are ready to assist businesses in fortifying their cybersecurity posture.

Reach out to our knowledgeable team today to learn how our cybersecurity services can provide you with peace of mind.