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What Can March Madness Teach Us about Data Breaches?

What Can March Madness Teach Us about Data Breaches?

Data breach prevention is similar to putting together a winning March Madness bracket. Here's how.

Monday, March 24, 2014/Categories: cyber-liability

A recent article in the Huffington Post compares March Madness to retirement planning to illustrate how many factors can influence a person’s success or failure in setting aside enough money for the golden years. As a technology insurance company, we got to thinking: March Madness is a useful metaphor for how data breaches happen, too – and how you can protect yourself against them.

Data Breaches: the Upsets of the Technology Industry

One of the reasons March Madness is exciting – one source of “madness,” if you will – is that there are always upsets. Underdog teams beat their better-funded, higher-ranked, more experienced opponents, and people gambling on the tournament groan or clap their hands with glee.

Upsets, in other words, are a sure thing. What’s completely unpredictable, though, is which teams will upset which – just like data breaches.

While we know that data breaches will happen (and have happened, in the last year, to dozens of the country’s most respected technology companies), we never know where they’ll hit or whom they’ll affect.

Unlike with tourney upsets, however, business owners can prepare for data breaches, thanks to technology insurance companies. Think about it: you can buy Data Breach Insurance (also known as Cyber Liability Insurance) to minimize the costs your business has to pay if and when it’s victimized by a data breach – but no such product exists for March Madness brackets. If you bet big and are wrong, that’s it. Your whole bracket could be shot in the first couple of rounds.

Putting Together a Strong Bracket (or a Strong Data Breach Resistance)

Of course, you won’t need insurance for your March Madness bracket if you’ve done your homework (i.e., followed college basketball closely all season). Luckily, reducing your risk of data breaches doesn’t require quite as large a commitment of time and energy.

Here’s what you can do to minimize your exposure to data breaches.

  1. Establish strict password protocol. Complex, encrypted passwords that change regularly are one of the best data breach protections a technology company can invest in. More than half of data breaches happen because hackers are able to guess a password.
  2. Invest in antivirus protections. Antivirus software, firewalls, and training for your team members (even if it’s only an informal review of best practices) go a long way toward preventing viruses from invading your machines and opening your information to malicious parties.
  3. Limit access to secure information. Not everyone you work with needs all your passwords. Establish different levels of access and share sensitive information only as necessary to limit the likelihood of mistakes.
  4. Secure adequate Data Breach Insurance. If all else fails, having a Data Breach Insurance policy in place will allow you to cover the costs of any damages associated with a breach incident. This will let you get back on track with serving your clients and growing your business as quickly as possible and prevent you from draining your assets to cover the costs of a breach.

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