This website is called Sharpening Your Defenses for a reason — bad things can happen and they can happen to you. Don’t believe me? In the news recently was a story about the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), a 40-year-old company that thought it was doing all the right things defensively. It never had a data breach — until it did. As a result, AMCA’s corporate future is in bankruptcy court.
This breach went on for eight months with more than 20 million files on patients being stolen. The breach was first identified in March of this year and was part of a massive breach that rocked the healthcare industry. Three months later, the company is filing for bankruptcy and still faces potentially millions in fines for privacy violations.
It’s not a pretty tale. AMCA was a collections agency for Quest Diagnostics and several other healthcare firms. The breach itself is now the subject of a Congressional investigation and has pushed AMCA’s parent company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
It is a positive sign that companies are investing in advanced cybersecurity technologies to protect their networks and customer data — AMCA is said to have invested $1 million in security infrastructure upgrades less than five years ago. However, even the best technology cannot take the place of properly configured devices, appropriate oversight to make sure that the network is not experiencing activity outside of what is expected (that was the problem with the 2013 Target breach — inappropriate activity flagged by the SIEM but not acted upon), and appropriate user training not to fall victim to social engineering attacks.
Technology alone will not do the job. It might identify potential vulnerabilities and breaches more quickly than a human, but artificial intelligence technology is not the human brain and it cannot necessarily distinguish between a user who does something out of the ordinary because they are just doing their job or because they are taking the first step to doing something malicious.
We need to face facts: Cyberattacks are part of our everyday life and they aren’t going away. Not only must the CISO and other senior managers recognize that the bad guys are probably already in your network, so too must staff understand that they play an important role in keeping bad actors at bay. If the bad actors succeed in breaching network defenses, even those companies that think they have all the tools in place to protect themselves could face massive losses and perhaps even bankruptcy.
Cybersecurity is everybody’s job, from the entry-level clerk or receptionist to the CEO and board of directors. As such, it is every employee’s responsibility to sharpen their own defenses.