Keeping sensitive business data secure is a never-ending mission for most companies. The negative impacts of a data breach can be massive—which is why so many companies spend considerable resources on securing company data.
There are numerous challenges for keeping company data secure on any type of infrastructure. What are these challenges, and how can they be overcome?Here’s a short list of the top three challenges in securing company data:
1: Your Own Employees
On any secure system, there’s always at least one major point of vulnerability: the employees who have legitimate access credentials to the system.
As noted by CRN’s list of the Top 9 Causes of Data Breaches, “miscellaneous errors accounted for 8.1 percent of confirmed breaches and 29.4 percent of total incidents” while “insider misuse accounted for 10.6 percent of confirmed breaches and 20.6 percent of total incidents.”
Add these two figures together, and employee actions account for 18.7% of confirmed data breaches, and 50% of total incidents. This puts employee actions on par with the #2 item on CRN’s list, crimeware, for confirmed breaches (18.8%) and ahead of crimeware for percentage of total incidents (25.1%).
Securing Company Data Against Employee Actions
Protecting against accidental and intentional insider misuse can be highly difficult. To limit the risk of employee misuse of company data, companies should:
- Restrict Access to Company Data to the Minimum Required for Work. No freshly-hired worker should have access to every secure database. Restricting access to bare minimums reduces data breach risks, but may also impact efficiency of work if employees need access to specific databases for a project.
- Drill Employees in Basic Information Safety Protocols. Employees should receive training in basic account security protocols to prevent the accidental sharing of user account details. This includes web browsing safety, phishing detection, and download link safety training.
- Establish Clear Data Security Guidelines and Consequences. Once employees have been trained in basic information security, it is important to hold them to a set of standards. Spelling out these standards, and the consequences of violating them, is integral to keeping data security at the forefront of an employee’s mind at all times.
- Revoke Access Credentials for Terminated Employees. No matter how trustworthy an employee is during their employment, it is vital to eliminate their user access credentials as soon as possible. Having unused user accounts is a severe data security risk, and even honest employees can be tempted into illicit action when their employment has been terminated.
Malware such as ransomware that holds company data hostage and advanced persistent threats that continuously siphon data can cause significant damage to a business. With thousands of new threat signals being created daily, companies have to be ever-vigilant against these threats.
The threat of malware has inspired the growth of an entire industry dedicated to creating counters to the deluge of malicious software flooding business systems. This antivirus industry has grown in size and capability, but antivirus alone just isn’t enough to keep a business’ data secure from every attack.
Securing Company Data Against Malware
There is no one perfect solution to the problem of malware. Traditional antivirus programs that use blacklisting to block specific threat signals can massively reduce risk, but they can only protect against known threat signals.
With hundreds of thousands of new threat signals being created daily, it takes time to log each new threat signal and update the antivirus to recognize it—time in which your business is being exposed to these threats.
To guard against malware, businesses should use strong, multi-layered security measures for their data storage, including:
- Perimeter Firewall. Firewalls help to block outside traffic from getting onto the system and installing malware in the first place. By using threat IP recognition, perimeter firewalls can help provide day-zero protection against new malware programs coming from known threat sources.
- Whitelisting Antivirus. Antivirus programs that use whitelisting can provide much stronger day-zero protection against malware that traditional blacklisting antivirus. However, since these antivirus systems block ALL applications that aren’t on the whitelist, it can impede productivity if your business uses internally-developed applications.
- Intrusion Detection and Event Logging Systems. Intrusion detection systems (IDS) allow companies to track the origin point of an intrusion attempt. While this won’t prevent malware from getting on company systems, it allows the attack to be traced back to its source so future attempts can be blocked based on IP address.
Using all of these security measures, as well as others, can help keep malware off of the company’s systems so that data on such systems remains secure.
3: The Cost of Implementing and Maintaining Strong Security Measures
Strong, multi-layered security can be costly for a company to implement internally. Between licensing fees, the cost of whatever hardware a specific security solution requires, and labor required for maintenance and update management, the cost of a full suite of strong security solutions can be immense.
This is why many companies use secure cloud service providers to run their IT infrastructure. With a secure cloud, companies can leverage the benefits of enterprise-grade, multi-layered security on the cloud at a fraction of the cost.
Also, since the cloud provider typically handles maintenance and updates for the cloud environment and its security measures, businesses can save labor on these maintenance tasks. This allows a company’s internal IT department to focus on other tasks to drive results for the business.
Naturally, to get true enterprise-grade security on the cloud, businesses need to partner with the right secure cloud service provider. Using a cloud provider that provides strong security and support is key to making the most of the cloud while enjoying increased data security for sensitive information.