“Data is the new oil”. This quote by Clive Humby from 2006 has become a well-known phrase in IT as it emphasizes the central role that data plays in the modern era. The significance of big data can no longer be overlooked. This is evidenced by the handling of the vast troves of data that get into the hands of big tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon daily. Recently one of the most frequently asked questions in the technology industry has been what can an organization do to keep its data safe?
With the world having such an enormous appetite for data, it is paramount that organizations be in sync with data security best practices so that this valuable commodity does not end up in the wrong hands. In this age, failure to uphold the highest level of security can result in massive financial losses, as evidenced by the $56 million fine that was imposed on the search engine Google Inc. by French authorities over a privacy breach.
In 2016, Cupertino California-based Apple Inc. was engaged in a massive legal dispute with the FBI involving client data. The tech giant challenged the FBI’s directive to create and electronically sign new software that would make it possible to unlock an iPhone 5C. The device was recovered from one of the shooters involved in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.
So, what were their pitfalls? What can you do to avoid similar situations in your business? How can you protect your sensitive data from hackers and fraud? Read on to learn which data security methods are the best for your business.
Why do Companies Need to Implement Data Security Best Practices?
Adopting sound data security methods within organizations brings several benefits. First, it enables business continuity. Today it is nearly impossible for most organizations to function without this data. It has become a fundamental asset that makes up the core of business operations and decisions. One data security failure is enough to bring the operations of high-tech organizations to a halt.
Another advantage of implementing recommended cybersecurity tips is that they reduce the risk of incurring data breaches. Organizational data breaches result in undesirable consequences, such as financial losses, damage to brand reputation, legal hurdles, and loss of public trust. Finally, adopting cyber security’s best practices helps prevent unauthorized access by keeping hackers at bay. These practices have become increasingly sophisticated as of late.
If you know your enemy, you will be better prepared to fight it or avoid it. Keep reading to find out some of the most common data threats facing companies.
Biggest Data Threats
Without implementing advanced data privacy best practices, critical hardware, websites, networks, and other peripheral equipment belonging to an organization may be vulnerable. We will find out about some of the most common data security threats facing companies today.
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Business email compromise is also on the rise. The practice involves hackers stealing email account credentials from high-profile executives. According to the Vice President of Product Management at Untangle, Heather Paunet, phishing emails are the most common method that cybercriminals use to gain access to a network. Phishing attacks are not easy to circumvent because they apply social engineering to get to personnel within an organization as opposed to technological loopholes.
Malware is another cybersecurity threat that is pushing businesses to adopt IT security best practices in their day-to-day endeavors. Malware includes a myriad of cyber threats, such as trojans and viruses. Malware can come in the form of spam emails, malicious downloads, or by connecting to an infected device.
Malware attacks can have devastating results for enterprises as they cripple devices, resulting in organizations incurring huge expenses to fix or replace them. They also grant attackers backdoor access to data, putting both employees and customers at risk.
Organizations that employ individuals who work on their own laptops or computers are the most vulnerable to malware. This is because personal devices usually have insufficient data security protection.
Malware isn’t even the most advanced kind of data fraud. This next kind of threat is much more formidable and costly to deal with. Keep reading to protect yourself from one of the most dangerous cybercrimes.
In June 2020, a cybercrime gang going by the name Netwalker extorted $1.14m from the University of California, San Francisco, in a well-orchestrated ransomware attack. The potential for hackers to acquire large sums of money has resulted in ransomware being the most popular of security threat in the modern era.
Ransomware works by encrypting an organization’s data and then demanding a ransom to decrypt the data. Such an incident leaves businesses in a difficult position. It is a common problem, especially to organizations that possess vast amounts of critical data.
A 2019 Verizon report found that 34% of breaches in 2019 were caused by insider threats. It is a risk caused by actions attributed to former or current employees, associates, or business contractors. They can access the organization’s most critical data and cause harm through ignorance or malice. Insider threats can result in untold financial damage.
Weak passwords are another threat to data protection in cyberspace. Most companies use various cloud-based software which requires users to have multiple accounts. Sensitive information is usually stored on these cloud-based services, so using easy passwords can cause that data to get hacked.
Mistakes Businesses Make in Data Protection
We know you’d like to learn about some of the biggest mistakes that businesses make regarding data protection. Find out more about the most common pitfalls so that you can avoid them.
Untrained Staff Members
Hiring skilled personnel is probably one of the most underrated data privacy practices. Untrained or under-trained staff remains one of the leading causes of security breaches in organizations. When it comes to cybersecurity, employees can either be a company’s greatest risk or asset. With that in mind, staff that are inadequately prepared for how to deal with confidential data and systems that use this information are a loophole in the company’s defense system.
Underfunding Data Security
Data security is often costly. Therefore, it is usually one of the first items that is eliminated when businesses look for ways to minimize operating costs. Yes, reducing the data security budget might result in immediate financial relief, however; it is vital to realize that in the event of a data breach, the business will not only suffer the loss of reputation but also clients. It can also become entangled in lawsuits.
According to Consolidated Technologies, cybercriminals find easy targets amidst businesses that use older systems with unpatched vulnerabilities. Organizations have been known to be reluctant to change software that they are already familiar with. It often disrupts the usual daily routine and takes a significant amount of time to become accustomed to the new software. However, such an attitude is in sharp contrast to data security best practices and should be forgone.
Improper Cloud Strategies
Company executives often make the erroneous assumption that moving to the cloud will ensure data protection. While the cloud is a safe place to store your organization’s critical data, it is important to remember that it is not an impenetrable fortress. There are always risks, and you should be fully cognizant of how your data is being protected, especially if you are using a public cloud platform.
Underestimating Insider Threats
Most companies make the mistake of underestimating the potential consequences of insider threats. They expend all their efforts and resources on guarding the digital perimeter, overlooking the possibility of theft or misuse of valuable company information by people on the inside.
Failing to Terminate Accounts
Most organizations fail to set out a comprehensive procedure for terminating personnel. Once an employee is terminated, their account often stays active. They may even hand over this account to another employee without changing the credentials. Such an act lies in direct violation of data protection best practices as the former employee may utilize their access to perform malicious acts, such as fraud or data theft.
Granting Unchecked User Privileges
As one of the cyber-security tips, businesses should not grant every employee unlimited user privileges. Assigning a certain set of privileges to one user is a vital tool for establishing the scope of access that users should have. The proper thing to do would be to grant minimal privileges to new accounts by default and increase the scope of access as needed.
Best DevOps Practices to Prevent Data Leakage
The fundamental philosophy of DevOps security is that every team member accounts for the wellbeing of the software. In simple terms, DevOps and security are intertwined.
In the next section, we will find out what an organization can do to keep its data safe by discussing various DevOps practices that companies can implement to protect themselves against data leakage. Read on to find out.
Hire a Well-Qualified DevOps Team
To implement data protection best practices, you should consider hiring a skilled DevOps team. With qualified experts, you won’t need to constantly check all of the departments and worry about possible threats. The engineers at OpsWorks Co. will take care of data security using reliable and efficient methods.
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