Data breaches and cyber-attacks are real threats for self-storage businesses, even small, independent operators. Here’s a review of national incidents from 2017, tips for lowering your risk and preventing exposure, and strategies for responding in the event an attack occurs.

Year in Review

Now that we’re well into 2018, let’s review some of the biggest data breaches and hacks from last year. There were a reported 868 data breaches or cyber-attacks in the United States. August, October and December logged the most, with 90-plus strikes in each. Coming in as possibly the largest incident in history was the Equifax data breach, which affected more than 145 million customers. Names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card data were among the information accessed by hackers.

What might surprise you is cyber-attacks happened at double the rate in 2017 compared to 2016, and it looks like there’ll be another increase in the number of breaches this year. We’ve already seen news of attacks and breaches at Lord & Taylor, Orbitz, Saks Fifth Avenue and T-Mobile U.S. Inc., just to name a few. In many professional opinions, it’s no longer a matter of if your data will be illegally accessed, it’s when.

We also saw an uptick in hackers using phishing-type security and ransomware attacks last year. The value of information has led to more creative and sophisticated incidents being perpetrated by hackers targeting both business and individuals.

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