data security breach

Cyber crimes can have a huge impact on businesses, according to experts like Moorhead Law, a Boulder computer crimes lawyer. Companies lost about $1.8 billion due to nefarious computer deeds, and the effects ripple through businesses in the form of: 

  • Increased operational costs
  • Operational disruptions
  • Altered business practices
  • Damage to business reputation
  • Lost revenues
  • Stolen intellectual property

So, it’s a bit distressing to learn that in some situations, cyber crime is on the rise. The number of publicly-reported data breaches in 2021 far outpaced 2020, according to Forbes, and could be continuing to rise. The workplace is a common place for cyber crimes to occur, and for many over the past few years, that workplace has been at home or another remote location.

There’s a link between computer crime, the COVID-19 pandemic, and working from home, and it has shown how cyber criminals are switching up their tactics to better exploit the current climate. Despite its utility, the recent WFH trend has opened a new potential portal through which bad actors can attempt data theft and other business-related cyber crimes:

  • The change of setting (without a prior remote work plan being in place, which applies to many organizations) means staff are now working with some unfamiliar technologies in order to carry out their duties remotely. Perhaps it’s a new work-computer they aren’t familiar with, or some new software they haven’t quite gotten the hang of.
  • Staff are more likely to mix work and personal accounts—using the same device for work calls and home calls, having family members with access to work devices, etc. Personal emails are often less secure, as are personal devices. This, in turn, exposes the company to risk and may compromise security.
  • This is all worsened by the fact that, at home, some employees are more likely to become distracted and are therefore less vigilant in stopping cyber crime.

While it may seem, in the midst of this heightened risk, that all threats to company data come from the outside, it’s important to remember that there are also internal threats that they’ll need to be aware of as well. One of the most common is plain-old human error, where well-intentioned employees make honest mistakes. It’s often something simple, like sending the right data to the wrong recipient, but it still results in unauthorized access of company information and can wreak havoc upon your operational security.

Internal threats also exist in the form of rogue employees who are intentionally trying to compromise security for their own financial benefit or because they have some kind of grudge. These unscrupulous individuals will actively look from vulnerable points within a company’s security net, and may exploit their own level of access to facilitate their crimes. 

Businesses can take measures to change the course of these trends, however, and one of the most important steps is ensuring that employees are cognizant of proper procedures and how to recognize cyber crime attempts. Companies should regularly test their security measures, and make certain that they are quick when responding to weaknesses and vulnerabilities.