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Friday, April 12, 2013

Data breaches a major business issue, expert explains

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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Few would deny that mobile solutions now play a critical role for countless companies of all sectors. The rise of smartphones, tablets and cloud computing solutions allows employees to remain productive while traveling, working at home or at satellite offices. Collaboration has become immeasurably easier and more effective, allowing for more agile, flexible organizations.

That said, there are also undeniable downsides to the trend of increasing mobility. Perhaps most notably, the ability to access corporate data from any location at any time has resulted in a greater risk of data breaches. And as the threat of data breaches has grown, so, too, have the potential consequences that may result from these events.

Recently, John Kendall, director of the national security program for Unisys APAC, discussed the risks presented by data breaches with BizTech2, arguing they have moved from being an IT issue to a business issue and that greater secure file sharing tools and better strategies are needed to minimize the likelihood of these events.

Serious breaches
As Kendall explained, the biggest data security threats that many organizations now face are internal, rather than external. These internal threats vary significantly, and are often not malicious, he noted.

"The insider threat can be unintentional, e.g., such as a lost USB drive with corporate financial data, a lost or stolen mobile device with access to corporate systems or emails, or an employee fooled into disclosing data in response to the increasingly sophisticated socially engineered spear-phishing scams," he said, according to the news source.

Kendall added that the damage caused by a data breach is not connected to the means by which it occurred, and organizations must take steps to prevent all of these types of incidents. He noted that a recent survey conducted by his firm found that 85 percent of participating Australians would not do business with an organization if their data was breached.

Security strategies
As the above statistic demonstrates, a firm that experiences a data breach will be at significant risk of losing customers and clients. Furthermore, not only will those directly affected by the incident be likely to leave, but others will avoid the company as well for fear that they, too, will have their information exposed in a breach.

To avoid this fate, Kendall asserted that organizations must focus on several key areas. Notably, he stated that firms need to make sure that staff are aware of relevant security policies and the devices themselves are protected with more than simple passwords.

With this in mind, organizations should pursue high-quality, secure file sharing tools. By implementing such solutions in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment, firms can make it easy for employees to share information among each other and those outside the organization without putting that data at risk. These solutions must therefore be dependable while also requiring minimal effort on the part of workers to ensure a high usage rate.