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FTC Increases Targeting of Companies Lacking Cyber Protection

Client Alert

Here is how businesses can develop cyber strategies to mitigate breaches and financial risk.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a comprehensive cybersecurity report outlining key findings and recommendations based on emerging threats, trends in data breaches, and strategies for businesses to enhance their cybersecurity posture observed over the last year. The FTC strives to protect consumer privacy and respond to the evolving ways that companies use consumer data such as in the development of artificial intelligence models and misuse of health data. 

Importantly, the report emphasized the need for proactive measures to mitigate risks and highlighted the FTC’s initiative in targeting companies that fail to implement reasonable data security measures to protect consumer data. 

Here are some key strategies for businesses: 

  1. Risk Assessment and Management: Conduct regular risk assessments (at least annually) to identify potential vulnerabilities and prioritize them based on their potential impact on the business. Develop and implement a risk management plan to address these vulnerabilities effectively.
  2. Cyber Security Policies and Procedures:  Implement basic cybersecurity policies to protect its assets, data, and operations from cyber threats.
  3. Employee Training and Awareness: Educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, such as recognizing phishing emails, using strong passwords, and reporting suspicious activity. Regular training exercises help reinforce awareness.
  4. Access Control and Privilege Management: Implement strong access controls to limit user privileges and restrict access to sensitive data and systems. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible to add an extra layer of security.
  5. Data Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data to protect it from unauthorized access. 
  6. Patching: Keep software and systems up to date with the latest security patches to address known vulnerabilities. Establish a patch management process to ensure timely deployment of patches across the organization.
  7. Network Security: Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and other network security measures to monitor and protect against unauthorized access and malicious activity. Segment networks to limit the spread of potential breaches.
  8. Incident Response Plan: Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines procedures for detecting, containing, and mitigating cybersecurity incidents. Test the plan regularly through tabletop exercises and simulations.
  9. Vendor Risk Management: Assess the security practices of third-party vendors and service providers to ensure they meet your organization's security standards. Include contractual clauses that outline security requirements and responsibilities.
  10. 10. Cyber Insurance: Consider obtaining cyber insurance to mitigate financial risks associated with cybersecurity incidents, such as data breaches or business interruptions.

By adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity and implementing these strategies, businesses can enhance their cybersecurity posture and better protect themselves against evolving threats and complying with ever increasing legal obligations.  

BMD assists companies design and implement a strategy to achieve technical and organizational controls to bolster cybersecurity and data protection.  

If you have any questions regarding this topic and how to protect your company's data, please contact BMD Member Brandon Pauley at btpauley@bmdllc.com.


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