The recent struggles of photo-sharing service Snapchat offer up a valuable lesson for businesses everywhere.
The application was vulnerable to intrusion, a fact that was pointed out to its owners several months ago. This warning was summarily ignored and, true to prediction, the app was hacked and the private information of about 4.6 million users was released.
While the organization has promised that it's working to institute safeguards to better protect the data of its 20 million users, the cavalier attitude towards the earlier warning is a definite sign for concern. Experts predict that cyber attacks will continue to be an important issue for businesses, and any organization that doesn't have a proactive policy in place could find itself in a catastrophe.
Measures like security protocols and IT contractor insurance aren't just important for companies growing as quickly as Snapchat. If your system stores any information at all about employees, such as their email addresses and names, you could very well be a target for these sorts of breaches. This danger is magnified if there is even more sensitive data at stake, such as social security numbers or credit card information.
The best security anticipates situations before they blossom into problems. You should be regularly assessing your network's security, and performing maintenance on any holes or oversights that you find. The quicker you can identify a potential issue, the better chance you have of solving it.
Snapchat didn't perform this due diligence, and now the company finds itself stuck trying to clean up a giant mess.