How Modern Data Security Can Improve Business Continuity
Data is an organization’s most valuable commodity. The availability of verifiable and actionable information is a crucial aspect of meeting business objectives. Without access to accurate internal, customer, and competitive data, a 21st-century business is essentially operating in the dark.
Keeping critical business data resources secure should be one of a company’s major concerns. Addressing the multiple threats to data security successfully is critical to an organization’s success.
In this article, we will look at some of the major threats to data security, strategies to combat these threats, and how this practice improves business continuity.
Threats to Data Security
Numerous threats to data security exist and somewhere, right now, cybercriminals are thinking up new techniques. It can be extremely challenging to keep up with the methods employed by nefarious hackers as they are constantly changing tactics. Following are some of the current common and dangerous threats to data security.
Ransomware encrypts a system’s data and holds it for ransom, often demanded in some form of cryptocurrency. A successful ransomware attack can be devastating to an organization. Many attacks attempt to steal sensitive data in addition to holding systems for ransom.
The costs of ransomware include downtime for the affected system, the expense involved in paying the ransom, and the potential loss of consumer confidence. This is especially true when sensitive or personal data is stolen by cybercriminals. Organizations that opt to pay the ransom may not get all their data back as they are negotiating with criminals.
Data breaches can be caused for a variety of reasons. Data can be lost or stolen in the aftermath of a ransomware attack. Criminally minded external or internal actors may gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and choose to steal it for financial gain.
Data breaches can lead to substantial fines when regulated data is involved. They also hurt a company’s reputation and shake consumer confidence in the organization’s ability to protect their information. Businesses that suffer data breaches often lose customers when the breach becomes public.
Both ransomware and more generic data breaches can be initiated by employees falling victim to a phishing email. A phishing email attempts to trick the recipient into divulging login credentials by imitating a legitimate request. Once the credentials have been obtained, cybercriminals use them to access systems and distribute malware, including ransomware.
Providing users with elevated privileges that enable them to access sensitive data is a leading cause of data breaches. Employees and contractors should only have the level of privilege necessary to perform their jobs. Elevated privileges can also lead to unintentional human error that adversely affects the veracity of a company’s data assets.
Companies that rely on the accuracy of their data cannot afford to have it modified or falsified by external or internal actors. Inaccurate data makes it impossible for a company to effectively compete in its market and can cause it to make decisions based on faulty information.
Strategies to Secure Corporate Data Resources
Multiple strategies need to be used to secure a company’s data resources. These strategies work to complete each other to bolster security across the computing environment.
Employee education and training
Employees and contractors need to be educated regarding the risks to data security and their roles in protecting it. This involves simple steps like locking computers when not in use to more complicated measures such as recognizing and thwarting phishing emails.
Encrypting data at rest and in transit makes it impossible for cybercriminals to make use of the information if they gain access to it. Data will be worthless to the perpetrators if it is encrypted effectively.
Effective network firewalls
Firewalls represent the first line of defense against potential intruders. They keep unwanted traffic out of a network so it cannot cause any trouble. Firewalls need to be configured correctly to work effectively.
Network and application monitoring
Networks and applications should be continuously monitored to look for attempts at unauthorized access and identify any suspicious behavior or anomalies. Based on the information gained through monitoring, security teams can address gaps in security or strengthen the protection of the affected systems.
Identity access management (IAM)
Identity access management is a strategy used to control access to sensitive data. As mentioned previously, elevated privileges can result in data breaches or damaged resources. A Zero Trust policy where users only have access to the bare minimum they need to do their work is recommended to maintain data security.
Antivirus and malware protection
Reliable antivirus and malware protection are essential to keep malicious software out of the environment. Databases need to be updated regularly to keep up with the newest creations of the cybercriminal community.
Disaster recovery planning
A viable disaster recovery plan needs to be developed and tested to ensure that business-critical systems can be recovered with minimal impact on business continuity.
Implementing Robust Data Security
Implementing the modern data security strategies outlined above helps protect a business from unexpected outages and data breaches. They are essential measures that facilitate business continuity and minimize the threat to corporate data resources. The risks to corporate data are growing daily and a powerful response is warranted.
It can be difficult for companies to implement robust data protection even with a dedicated security team. There are constantly new threats and attack vectors emerging that need to be confronted immediately. Businesses with a cloud computing presence have additional complications to address and may not have the in-house technical resources to handle the job.
Attempting to secure valuable data assets with insufficient knowledge or experience is a recipe for disaster. Misconfigured or poorly implemented security measures will not perform as expected and leave your computing environment at risk. Getting security right is imperative when protecting corporate data and maintaining business continuity.
Prescient has experienced security professionals ready to help a business protect its valuable data. Prescient’s team will conduct a security audit to assess your current environment and uncover gaps that put your data at risk. After surveying your systems, the team will make suggestions regarding the right mix of security tools to protect your data. From firewalls to monitoring, Prescient has the solutions you need to keep your data safe and your business running smoothly.