Data security is gaining utmost priority as CISOs gear up to disperse effective security measures across organizations and transform IT infrastructure in the age of rapid digital transformation. Furthermore, the shift to a remote workforce has been found to increase the risk of potential data breaches.
No company would want to suffer a data breach given the costs attached with it, yet many unknowingly succumb to it due to various causes, of which the five most prominent are:
Social engineering: Cybercriminals are increasingly using sophisticated social engineering techniques to exploit the weakest link in an organization’s security chain – its employees. Social engineers use a variety of techniques to trick unsuspecting users into compromising their companies’ security. While antivirus software and modern endpoint protection tools are effective in combatting this threat, security awareness education should be an ongoing activity at any organization.
Exposure through third-party solution providers: It’s common for organizations to outsource large parts of their business to external vendors today. Third parties increase an organization’s susceptibility to data breaches, further highlighting the need for remote access solutions. Specialized software like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools can help organizations effectively prevent the misuse of sensitive data no matter where it is situated.
Storing backlogs of stale data: Database systems are crucial to every business. However, over time, data, when not in use ceases to be properly managed and protected. Organizations often fail to put in place policies around data retention and deletion, and in the long run, unused data can pose major security risks to businesses. DLP solutions have the potential to mitigate risks as they can at any point conduct network-wide scans and allow admins to remotely identify, encrypt or erase data stored on endpoints based on results.
Confusing compliance with cybersecurity: It is easy for organizations to fall into the trap of confusing compliance with cybersecurity. While compliance requirements act as sophisticated guidelines for taking a proper approach towards data governance and risk management, cybersecurity is merely one of the tools in achieving adherence to compliance. Cybersecurity measures and firewalls protect the company network from external threats, but do not necessarily omit the risk of internal threats.
Use of unauthorized devices and theft: While organizations’ data protection policies focus on data transfers outside the company network over the internet, many fail to consider another often used method i.e., portable devices. These include external hard drives and USBs, devices convenient to use but easy to lose or steal. The simplest way to prevent these kinds of breaches is to block USB and peripheral ports altogether. However, these devices are sometimes required to be used in the workplace and for companies who want to use them, there are measures they can take, to do so securely. Chiefly among them is encryption of all files transferred onto external devices combined with a trusted devices policy which would allow only devices defined as trusted to connect to a company computer. With this in place, even if these devices fall into the wrong hands, the data on them is secured.
To avoid these risks to data security, CISOs must adopt data protection strategies after closely reviewing the nature of their organization’s data, how it is collected and used, to effectively come up with the right data security strategies. We now have DLP solution providers that offer need-based security models, empowering organizations to selectively apply privacy enhancing techniques to data and mitigate the risks to data security.
By Filip Cotfas, Channel Manager, CoSoSys