High-profile data breaches have placed technology companies in the spotlight by demonstrating how quickly they respond to an attack. With many investors watching the news to determine how breaches affect their stocks, more companies are remaining focused on how to protect their private information from hackers.

As reported by the International Federation of Accountants, about 43% of companies responding to a 2018 survey claimed to have experienced a cyberattack. Malicious fraudulent emails or hackers impersonating a company or its employees resulted in the greatest number of data breaches. To gain access to a system, however, an employee generally must first open an email, click on a malicious link or provide confidential information that a hacker may then intercept.

To reduce the risk of an intrusion, companies may employ proactive approaches, such as reprogramming or improving their information systems. Installing or upgrading a company firewall system can help reduce incoming malicious communications. Anti-spam or anti-spyware software may filter out fraudulent emails that an employee could mistake as legitimate business requests. Almost 40% of small businesses surveyed, however, claimed to have not invested in protecting their companies from a cyber threat.

According to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost in damages that a company incurs from a data breach is almost $4 million. For companies in the health care industry, the cost of each record breached is about $429, as reported by HIPAA Journal.

Law enforcement officials are generally successful in tracking the source of a cyberattack and then prosecuting the individuals involved. Many businesses could, however, remain liable to their client base for the impact a breach may have on customer data.