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Data breaches a ‘wake up call’

The recent retail data breaches are a wake up call for Australian businesses and distributed enterprises, says one security expert.

David Higgins, regional director ANZ for WatchGuard Technologies a global leader in multi-function security appliances, said every business, no matter how small, needs enterprise levelsecurity.

“Customer and internal information holds great value for cyber criminals and it’s currently worth their efforts to obtain it through malicious software and the exploitation of vulnerabilities within an organisation’s internal and external processes, networks and software platforms,” Higgins said.

Last week hackers hit David Jones and Kmart, compromising online customers’ personal information including customer names, email addresses, home addresses, and telephone numbers. In both cases, no credit card details were accessed.

“Among many other costly outcomes, breached organisations face extensive costs relating to operation down-time and recovery as well as damage to a brand’s credibility and customer relationships.

“In April more than 3500 breaches were reported to the Australian Federal Police with threats set to increase. In addition to this, the average number of days taken to resolve cyber-attacks is 30 with an average total cost of $276,323 AUD.”

Higgins recommends implementing layered security systems with visibility and monitoring tools, which he says are delivering an excellent return on investment by mitigating these risks and allowing for effective network operation.

“Smaller suppliers are creating vulnerabilities within the supply chains of larger organisations and larger organisations are increasingly requesting their suppliers undergo comprehensive penetration testing to ensure that systems are well protected and will not pose a supply chain breach risk. Evaluating the lines of communication with business partners to eliminate weak links is essential and even the smallest of business partners can be a weak link as seen recently with retail based breaches in the United States.”

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