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Risk Management through Client Education

Why Client Education Is Your Most Powerful Anti-Data-Breach Tool

An IT consultant's work includes more than just installing software and setting up hardware. You may not realize it, but you are also responsible for teaching clients about cyber security. Take the example of a recent data breach at the University of Washington's medical school.

A UW employee opened an attachment to a phishing email. The malicious software contained in the attachment led to a data breach of over 90,000 records containing social security numbers and payment information. In response, the medical school had to hire a cyber security crisis management firm to review its network security and notify every patient who was affected – all because of one opened email.

This news story highlights three important points about data breaches:

  1. Data breaches can be caused by simple, preventable mistakes.
  2. You can't assume your clients understand the basics of data breach prevention.
  3. After one of your clients suffers a data breach, you could be named in a lawsuit as a responsible party.

To prevent the kinds of mistakes that lead to costly data breaches, IT professionals need to be aware of two kinds of cyber liability: first-party and third-party. Here's a look at how each works and how each can affect your business.

Next: What Is First-Party Liability?

70% of businesses raise prices or cut hiring when sued