Can a Data Breach Ever Have a Positive Outcome?

Many issues with technology will one day be solved, but this is not the case when it comes to data breaches. As hacking techniques become more sophisticated, so too must our cyber defences continue to evolve. Similarly, while data may be safe for a time, breaches are now an inevitable part of any modern business.

With this in mind, an organisation’s first goal is rightly to avoid a data breach altogether. But this is not always possible. After all, a recent report by Sophos revealed that 2013 was the worst year for breaches so far, with 2,164 incidents reported and a huge 822 million records exposed. Apparently, companies may be breached despite having employed the best protections and prevention techniques. Should this happen, companies would be wise to try and extract some positive lessons from these otherwise negative incidents. But how to do it?

Nobody buys a raincoat when the sun is shining

A data breach is a useful means of raising cyber security as an issue inside your company. It is no secret that many executives are reluctant to upgrade certain types of software, but with a specific real-life example of how things can go wrong, it is far easier to demonstrate what happens without the upgrade. To put it another way, a data breach can actually help put a potentially difficult topic at the forefront of a company’s agenda.

If you are a software vendor, a breach can be a good way to prove the value of maintenance payments to your customers. Many companies perceive maintenance costs as something unnecessary that they don’t need, but a breach can be a good way to demonstrate their value. Not only that, it can act as a way of reminding customers who no longer pay for maintenance that there is a patch out there that can help.
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Another important step that any organisation needs to take when a data breach occurs is communication with customers. It is vital that a company notifies those potentially affected by the breach as quickly as possible, ensuring customers continue to perceive the business as a reliable and stable institution.

The ideas I’ve discussed won’t necessarily be applicable to every company out there. But what’s certain is that, with some creative thinking, there are benefits that can come from a data breach for any organisation. The rate at which breaches are occurring is not expected to slow down any time soon, so it is key that a businesses learn to look for the positive outcomes and move forward accordingly.

By Norman Rohde, Vice President, Sales, EMEA, Novell

About Novell

novell_logoNovell supports thousands of organizations around the globe, delivering software that makes the workplace more productive, secure and manageable. Focusing on today’s social, mobile and multi-platform world, we help you stay competitive, minimize costs, and get more value from the software you already own.

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