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When It Comes To Data Breach Preparedness, Companies Are Looking To the Top

The cost of a data breach in the U.S. hit an all-time high in 2017 at $7.35 million. Along with financial repercussions, data breaches can result in millions of private and sensitive information compromised, affecting not just the breached company but also all individuals whose personal data may have been stolen.

Data breach protection and preparation requires support and active involvement from the top and an informed C-suite is an integral part of a data breach response plan from review to execution. However, a surprising number of executives are not actively engaged in such preparations. According to “The Fifth Annual Study: Is Your Company Ready for a Big Data Breach?,” sponsored by Experian Data Breach Resolution and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, less than half (48 percent) of organizations feel confident that C-suite executives are prepared to deal with a breach. When it comes to a company’s board of directors, respondents were even less confident (just 39 percent).

With an increase in data breaches affecting companies of all sizes, it’s more important than ever that executives and those in the C-suite be involved in all security measures and response plans. However, not only did the study find that few executives or board members participate in high-level reviews of data protection and privacy practices, but many may be avoiding responsibility overall in breach preparedness.

Organizations look to leadership to make data breach preparedness a continuing priority for the entire company. In fact, 80 percent of respondents believe that data breach response plans need increased participation and greater oversight from senior executives. But, with only 36 percent of respondents indicating that the board understands specific security threats facing their organization, this gap continues to leave companies vulnerable to attack.

Data breaches can cost companies more than financial losses; they also threaten an organization’s reputation and customer trust. By increasing their role in data breach preparedness, an organization’s leadership can maximize the effectiveness of a data breach response plan and minimize the fallout from a cyberattack. Company leadership can set forth a culture of cybersecurity and data breach preparedness; it’s in the best interest of everyone that they act on this responsibility.

For more, download the full study here.