Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Security Breaches to Cost More Beginning in 2018

The last thing any company wants is to find itself victimised by hackers. Between the poor publicity and the fines that may be imposed, suffering a security breach is bad for business. And it's about to get worse. Once new EU fines are implemented in 2018, being victimised by a security breach could cost a company millions.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation is set to go into effect in 2018. The regulation not only increases fines for security failures but it also groups companies according to their size and revenues. Some of the largest companies in Europe could face fines of up to £18 million or 4% of global turnover. Computer Weekly reports that revenues from the fines could represent a 90-fold increase if the same level of security breaches in 2018 and beyond continues at the same level reported in 2015.

When looked at specifically through the lens of large UK corporations, Computer Weekly says the annual fines could increase some 130-fold. The fines collected among small and medium-sized businesses could rise as many as 57 times. All of this adds up to an awful lot of money.

Putting Companies at Risk

The EU regulator has established a two-tiered system that allows it to levy less severe fines on companies suffering security breaches considered not as serious. Still, a fine equal to 2% of global revenue could still be devastating to a large company. This leads to the obvious question of whether the new regulation puts companies at risk or not. It may do just that.

Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council Jeremy King told Computer Weekly that the new legislation is serious business. King wonders whether some businesses will be able to actually pay the fines assessed against them.

"The new EU legislation will be an absolute game-changer for both large organisations and SMEs as the regulator will be able to impose a stratospheric rise in penalties for security breaches," King said, "and it remains to be seen whether businesses facing these fines will be able to shoulder the costs."

The regulator's position is easy to understand in light of the fact that as many as 90% of large corporations and 74% of small- and medium-sized businesses were affected by a security breach in 2015. Regulators are attempting to force companies to take more drastic action to prevent security breaches by making it financially uncomfortable not to do so… but is the regulator going too far?

Only time will tell whether the increased fines will accomplish what the EU wants them to or not. It is quite possible that some companies caught off-guard in the early stages will suffer financially for it, but we can hope that companies will take this seriously enough to beef up security efforts before the new fines are imposed. That would be ideal. Europe's computer networks would be safer and businesses will not have to suffer the losses related to breaches.

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