Thursday, June 06, 2013
Data breaches not inevitable with the right strategy
These days, the cybersecurity landscape can appear rather bleak. It seems hardly a week, or even a day, goes by without news of yet another data breach affecting a company, hospital, school or government organization. These incidents range from the relatively small scale to enormous breaches affecting tens of thousands of individuals and invaluable corporate intellectual property. Regardless of the scale, though, there is no doubt that such occurrences are deeply damaging to firms, both financially and in terms of reputation.
Considering the sheer number of data breaches that are occurring, the increasing sophistication demonstrated by cyberattackers and the growing opportunities for employee error to expose company information, many have concluded that data breaches are simply inevitable and that organizations should accept this reality and focus heavily on preparing a response for when such an event occurs.
While it may be tempting to succumb to this view, the truth of the matter is that the risk of data breach, while high and growing, is far from 100 percent. On the contrary, many firms have never experienced such an event and, if they keep their guards up, they never will. With the right tools in place, such as secure file sharing and managed file transfer (MFT) solutions, organizations can greatly enhance the overall quality of their cybersecurity efforts, thereby minimizing the chances that they will become the victim of a data breach.
There are two primary threats to firms of all kinds when it comes to data breaches: malicious outsiders and inadvertent insiders. Both need to be addressed for an organization to successfully protect its corporate and client data.
The first group includes hackers and all other cyberattackers, be they individuals or groups. As mentioned above, cyberattackers are constantly developing and improving the tactics and technology they use to illegally obtain their targets' information. This makes it extremely difficult for firms to maintain sufficient defenses against these attacks.
This problem is compounded by the fact that cyberattackers are expanding their targets. In the past, attackers would typically focus solely on information that could be immediately leveraged for financial gain. Later, these attackers began to seek out identifying information that could be used for identity theft and fraud. Now, targets have broadened even further to include big data and other information that is not immediately beneficial for the criminals but can be sold or ransomed for a significant payout. To be secure, businesses and other organizations must protect a greater amount and variety of information than ever before.
Fortunately, tools exist which can go a long way in this regard. One of the most invaluable of these is MFT. High-grade MFT tools are trusted by such information-sensitive organizations as the U.S. Army and international corporations, thanks to these solutions' ability to ensure that large data sets remain protected while being sent to various personnel. Oftentimes, data in motion is seen as more vulnerable than static data. By investing in dependable MFT solutions, firms can negate this risk, thereby greatly reducing the danger of a data breach.
However, to truly minimize the possibility that a data breach will occur, organizations must also account for the other major risk: inadvertent insiders. This group consists primarily of employees who take actions, either through ignorance or negligence, which ultimately lead to data breaches.
This issue is particularly significant thanks to the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Employees in every sector are increasingly using their personal smartphones and tablets to perform work-related tasks. This trend has significant benefits, as organizations become more flexible and increase employee satisfaction. However, the variety of devices makes it very difficult for firms' IT departments to guarantee that security protocols are implemented and maintained. This can lead to inadvertent errors and data breaches.
Secure file sharing solutions can help to reduce this risk. With secure file sharing programs, employees can quickly send and receive files without an increased risk that this information will fall into the wrong hands.
However, to reach this goal it is important for firms to choose only those solutions that are easy to use. This will ensure that employees have no reason to avoid using the tools provided, and therefore will not put corporate or client data at risk.