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Not Sure if You Need Network Security? Just Read the News

As a business owner, even if you were unfamiliar with the term “data breach” six months ago, chances are that you probably are all too familiar with it by now. Unfortunately for businesses, banks, and consumers alike, some of the biggest brand names in the world—Target, Michaels, and Neiman Marcus to name just a few—have been featured in the news in recent months as victims of major information theft.

Earlier this month, a number of large hotels announced that they had suffered network attacks as well. If your business is still wavering on whether or not to invest in a best-in-class network security solution, take a look at how these companies have been impacted.

For Target, the victim of the largest and most public data breach, the situation has been nothing short of a total nightmare. The third-largest retailer in the U.S. had 40 million credit and debit card records stolen from its system, along with 70 million other records including personal information like addresses and telephone numbers. The company was forced to send senior executives to a Senate hearing and could face up to $1.1 billion in fines, to say nothing of the enormous hit the company’s brand has taken.  In the time since the attack, shares of Target hit a 52-week low and the company was forced to reduce its 2013 Q4 earnings forecast.

The 1.1 million cards stolen from Neiman Marcus’ network seem like small potatoes compared with Target’s predicament. Still, the company has been forced to make public apologies and offer free credit monitoring to customers who shopped at the store from January 2013 to January 2014.

The issue of credit monitoring dovetails nicely into another area of fallout from these attacks, a bubbling feud between retailers and the financial industry. Since the attacks occurred, retailers have suggested that banks must upgrade technology—like electronic chips to replace magnetic strips—on the cards that they issue. The financial sector has been quick to defend itself, saying that this technology would not have prevented the Target breach. Those in the financial sector have gone on to claim that the retail industry was unprepared and is simply trying to deflect blame.

“Nearly every retailer security breach in recent memory has revealed some violation of industry security agreements,” the Independent Community Bankers said in a recent article that rejected what the financial sector believe are retailers’ attempts to shift the blame to banks “In some cases retailers haven’t even had technology in place to alert them to the breach intrusion, and third parties like banks have had to notify the retailers that their information has been compromised.”

The above quote hits on an important point about network security – businesses may not be able to thwart every attack, but they must be able to dissect intrusions quickly and have the ability to analyze and protect against similar invasions in the future. With best-in-class network monitoring capabilities, you can see network utilization in real-time, while simultaneously archiving a complete history of all network activity to disk. If a breach is suspected, you can rewind the data to see all activity on your network, from the routine to the unexpected, allowing you to quickly determine exactly how an intrusion went undetected and specifically which data were compromised. With the ability to quickly identify the scope and impact of any network intrusion, your business can stay in the good graces of your customers, and out of the news.

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