Ransomware Is The Same As A Data Breach

Ransomware is the same as a data breach.

From the standpoint of a data regulator, it is your company’s job to keep data safe from cyber threats, notify clients about a breach within a certain time frame, and provide relevant documents as proof of your efforts. Although various authorities have established varied requirements for breach notifications, the idea remains the same.

While there is a widespread notion that data isn’t truly “taken” in a ransomware incident, no firm struck by ransomware has been able to prove this. That is why, among other things, compliance requirements like as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA require firms to notify their clients if their data is in threat.

Many firms, on the other hand, operate in a “grey area” when it comes to alerting their stakeholders about data breaches. In this article, we’ll explain why taking this strategy might backfire and why your company should take a comprehensive approach that combines the best of cybersecurity and compliance.

The Unknown

A growing percentage of firms appear to believe that not all ransomware assaults must be disclosed since not all hackers can unlock the data they have encrypted. They believe that hackers only have the requisite expertise to encrypt, exfiltrate, and abuse data during complex attacks. Only in such instances do organizations acknowledge that a breach has happened and that it is therefore reportable.

This assumption, however, is problematic for two reasons. First, with improved ransomware-as-a-service technologies widely accessible on the market, even a novice hacker may catch you off guard and cause havoc. Second, regulatory bodies have diverse perspectives on the matter.

For example, the US Department of Health and Human Services has recommended firms to presume that ransomed data contains Personal Health Information, even in “low likelihood” circumstances, in accordance with HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. In fact, several state data breach notification laws require firms to notify consumers even if there is “unauthorized access,” without the requirement to establish that personal information was stolen.

Why Do Businesses Opt for Silence Rather Than Breach Notification?

Accepting a data breach of any type is difficult for any organization owing to the significant financial consequences. as well as reputational ramifications However, there are other reasons why corporations opt to remain silent.

Failure to Comply with Data Breach Notification Standards

As simple as it may appear, most firms lack the capacity to conform to breach notification criteria established by various governments throughout the world. Even if a company does not report a ransomware assault, failing to notify its consumers or clients on time will result in harsh penalties from regulators.

The GDPR, the European Union’s data privacy and protection policy, has established a 72-hour deadline for reporting the type of a breach and the estimated number of data subjects impacted. The clock starts ticking the minute a company’s IT staff determines with certainty that a breach has happened.

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Is your company capable of clinging to such norms?

Perceptions of ‘Victim Versus Victimizer’
Assume a company disclosed a ransomware intrusion to its stakeholders and the appropriate authorities. On the one hand, law enforcement authorities investigating the case would see the company as a victim, even if it paid the ransom, while regulators would see the company as a victimizer of its consumers for failing to secure their data.

If the company is determined to be non-compliant with the essential security regulations following an audit, regulators will take punitive action after weighing a variety of considerations. In 2014, Sony Pictures faced a similar situation following a security hack that affected some of its workers.

Reputational Harm
Following a data breach, 78 percent of individuals cease connecting with a business online. While your company may still be able to recover financially from the financial harm caused by ransomware-induced downtime, repairing its reputation and recovering the faith of your consumers is a long, painful, and sometimes pointless process. This is one of the primary reasons why firms do not notify a ransomware attack.

You must cover both ends.

While there is no foolproof technique for avoiding cybersecurity assaults like ransomware, your company may surely demonstrate its dedication to preventing security breaches or data loss issues. This is precisely what compliance authorities and key stakeholders are looking for: how proactive your company can be in mitigating risk and dealing with the fallout from a breach while still conforming to applicable legislation.

Adopting an all-inclusive strategy that incorporates the best of cybersecurity and compliance is a positive move. Working with an experienced MSP that has a track record of defending businesses from advanced cybersecurity attacks and non-compliance issues will be extremely beneficial to your company.

Schedule a meeting with us now and let us assist you fulfill all of your cybersecurity and compliance requirements in a proactive manner.

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