Is Cybersecurity a Social Responsibility?

Sometimes life lessons are learned the hard way. Maybe you forget to roll up the windows on your SUV, leaving the upholstery to suffer a soaking from the overnight rain. Maybe you left a shopping bag of new clothes behind your seat, only to have them swiped from under your nose. These situations are unpleasant, but they really only affect you.

This is not the case when it comes to cyberattacks and data breaches against your small business. When hackers crack your passwords and leak your files to the wider web, it's your customers, clients, employees, and partners who suffer.

Now, cyber insurance is a failsafe to protect businesses against financial damages brought on by online threats. But the question stands: Do private businesses have a social responsibility to secure their network against cybercriminals? CyberPolicy examines the question below.

Consumer or Product?

Take Equifax, for instance. The credit reporting agency spilled personal and financial data on 145.5 million U.S. consumers. This means that nearly every American adult is vulnerable to identity thieves who are more than happy to compromise their personal information for selfish means.

Equifax's handling of the situation was met with harsh criticism from consumer-protection groups, cybersecurity experts, and the media at large. But it is also important to note that Equifax does not view its victims as customers, but rather as products whose credit history is sold to interested parties. But does that really excuse Equifax from its mishandling of private personal and financial information?

Social Media Woes

We have learned quite a bit about how the Russian government influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election in recent months. Rather than throwing the number of votes, Russian troll farms preferred to influence American citizens by leveraging social media posts, groups, and events.

For example, Russian trolls organized a protest and a counter-protest in Texas in May of 2016 through Facebook. The goal was to sow division between real Americans, according to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

This begs the question: Should Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services be held responsible for this breach of trust? Some members of the House and Senate think so.

Google is in a similar predicament. Fake news websites and forums have turned up in Google's top search results where they can sometimes spread false information to the public. Meanwhile, this means legitimate news sources are buried by bad SEO. Should search engines, like Google, do more to protect users against deliberate misinformation?

A Sign of Things to Come

Conversations and questions like the ones above will only become more common as the technological side of our society grows and propagates. Nevertheless, it seems that good cybersecurity should be a responsibility of all companies. After all, it's your customers that share their payment information, personal information, private photographs, intellectual property, and more with your brand. Shouldn't you take handling their data as seriously as you can? Shouldn't your organization do all it can to deliver accurate information to your customers and partners?

Do the right thing for your business and your customers by investing in cyber insurance today. Explore CyberPolicy for more information.

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