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5 ways to reduce the frequency and impact of global data breaches

Nearly three in five consumers would not do business with a company that has suffered a data breach, according to a report.

In the Internet Society's 2016 Global Internet Report, 59 per cent of users said they would be likely to avoid firms that were hit by breaches in the past.

With a view to reducing the frequency and impact of data breaches around the world, the report's authors gave some tips for businesses to stay more secure.


1. Put users at the centre of recovery
Users are the "ultimate victims" of data breaches, the Internet Society said. When a business evaluates the cost of a data breach after the incident itself, it should include the costs both to the organisation and the impact on its customers.


2. Increase transparency
Businesses should be clearer about the risk, incidence and impact of data breaches, the authors said. They explained that sharing information responsibly helps firms improve their security, lawmakers improve policies and law enforcement pursue attackers.


3. Prioritise data security
"Organisations should be held to best practice standards when it comes to data security," the society advised. This will force them to make security a priority and ensure that their customers' data is properly protected against cyber threats.


4. Increase accountability
The report advised that rules on liability and remediation should be established before a breach takes place so that organisations can be held accountable for their actions - or lack of them - if disaster ever does strike and they suffer a data breach.


5. Increase security incentives
Security could eventually become a selling point, the Internet Society argued. If a trusted, independent assessment system for cyber security measures is established, firms' security levels could be a deciding factor for consumers making a purchase decision.


For more from the 2016 Global Internet Report - and to download the full document - see the Internet Society's website.

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