data breach AT&T, the telecoms giant, has confirmed that 9 million accounts were exposed in a hack of a vendor it was working for. AT&T stated that the sensitive information was mostly about eligibility for device upgrades.

Hackers used a vulnerability in the vendor's computer system to hack into customer data in January 2023. Hackers gained access to customer data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, and telephone numbers.

AT&T claimed that the hack didn't involve sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or credit card details. The exposed data also included old information.

According to AT&T, the hack did not impact its internal systems. AT&T says the company is in contact with customers affected by this data breach.

What is a Data Breach? And what are its consequences?

Data breach is when someone has unauthorized access to sensitive information such as confidential and personal information. This can have severe consequences, such as identity theft, fraud and other malicious activities.

AT&T's recent breach could lead to phishing attacks, spam and possible legal and financial sanctions. The company's reputation could also be affected by the failure to secure its customers' data.

How to minimize the risk of data breaches when working with vendors

Vendors can pose risks to business owners. These are some of the ways you can reduce the risk of data breaches.

1. Before you work with a vendor, make sure to verify their reputation. Do a thorough background check before you begin working with any vendor. You should ensure they have a great reputation and a history of data security

2. Use contracts. A comprehensive agreement should be drawn up that outlines the security requirements the vendor must follow to protect your data.

3. Limit data access and share only what is absolutely necessary. They should only have access to the data they must perform their duties. You should also ensure that vendor takes measures to protect your assets. Data security, encryption and access controls are all part of the deal.

4. Monitor vendor activity. Monitor vendor activity and keep track of any changes in their access to your data. This will allow you to detect potential misuse or breaches.

5. Prepare an incident response plan. A plan for an incident response outlines the steps you should take in the event of a data breach. These should include communication protocols and containment notifying parties affected by the actions and measures

These practices can help business owners reduce the risk of data breaches while working with vendors and ensure data security.

If your data is compromised, identity theft and fraud can be common side effects. Businesses should monitor their accounts for suspicious activity and regularly review credit reports and account statements. Integrated Technology Systems can help your company set protocols for working with vendors. They will also train your employees being aware of data breaches and how they can affect your company.

Essendant's Multiday Outage

network outageA Staples-owned wholesaler of office supplies, Essendant has halted operations due to a network outage that lasted several days. Customers were unable to place orders online or contact the customer service unit due to the system outage.

Although Essendant has not yet disclosed the cause of the outage many believe someone hacked into the company’s systems. Customers express their dissatisfaction at the lack of transparency from Essendant.

Essendant's Outage Prevents Fulfillment

On March 6, 2023, the network-wide outage began. Essendant began to notify customers about the outage the next day. The company is unable to accept new orders online or fulfill existing orders due to the disruption. The incident affects not only customers and suppliers but also freight carriers. They were told by the company to delay pickups.

Essendant has more than 160,000 products and serves around 30,000 resellers. Its supply chain has been affected by the disruption.

What is Essendant doing to address the issue?

Essendant has made significant efforts to recover its operations since March 20, 2023. The company has completed at least 100 systems restorations and conducted end-to-end testing. The company is currently in pilot stage of its pick-pack, pack and ship efforts.

This is what Essendant customers can expect at this stage of its recovery.

  • Empower users have been given new login credentials that allow them to place orders via the website portal.
  • Customers can also access other Solution Central applications, apart from Empower.
  • Essendant's customer service team can only be reached via email. Due to the high volume of requests, turnaround times will take longer.
  • Due to higher order volumes, shipping times will be longer.

The bottom line

Data backups are crucial in today's world, as demonstrated by the Essendant disaster. Large amounts of data can be lost. Information, whether it's customer data, employee data, or system data, can be disastrous for a company. A data backup strategy will ensure that you have a copy of your systems so that you can recover quicker.

Integrated Technology Systems reminds business owners that they should have a contingency strategy. A backup plan can save your business if your supplier is unable to deliver. Integrated Technology Systems can assist with creating a strategy that works for yoyr company. Give them a call today.

Integrated Technology Systems
6 East 45th Street, Suite 400
New York, NY 10017