5 Ways Your Data isn’t as Secure as You Think

Are you doing enough to protect your data? Data is a premium commodity, which makes it incredibly important to manage risk exposure. You can reduce your security breach vulnerabilities by doing a gap analysis. Without the right tools and strategy in place, your data may not be as secure as you think. While you may have…

  • Secured your network with a firewall
  • Required a password change from your staff every 90 days
  • Ensured that company devices have hardened security settings for users
  • Implemented an annual, required security briefing on the importance of strong passwords and locking the keyboard when leaving your desk

The reality is that even the standard security efforts are just not enough.

If you want to better protect your data and develop a stronger security posture for your organization, then you need multiple layers of defense, including regular security training for all employees and an up-to-date security policy. Educating and training users will make them a part of the security initiative, so that they too can help protect the organization and its data.

Five Security Practices that are Holding You Back

Here’s a look at some practices that can leave your data vulnerable to a breach:

1. You Use Plain FTP

FTP was a commonly used file transfer method. It was often the go-to protocol because if its ease of use, accessibility, and low cost. However, FTP transfers files; it does not keep them secure. More than 40 years ago, Abhay Bhushan published the first specifications for FTP. With FTP, users can transfer data out in the open across a network. As a result, your files and network have a higher exposure risk if you use FTP to move data. FTP could leave your data and network vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks or worse. With FTP, data moves unencrypted, which makes it easier for anyone to access your data, whether you want them to or not.

2. You Don’t Keep Your Systems and Software Updated

Software and system updates are released because security holes were found in their code, Java, or in OpenSSL, and a software patch is needed. System and software updates are a necessity and they are worth the temporary annoyance to prevent a security disaster. Keeping your certificates current falls in this same category. Allowing your systems and software to miss a critical update is like leaving your car doors unlocked at night.

3. You Have No Idea What’s Going on in Your Network

If you want to secure your network and data, you have to be aware of what’s going in and out of your network. According to BakerHostetler’s 2016 M-Trends Report, 52 percent of organizations discovered a breach of their network themselves.

Monitoring is a crucial step to staying in control of your network. Also, if you have multiple systems to manage, it’s much easier to get a clear picture of what is going on if all of the data is monitored in one location. Developing and enforcing a security policy should be mandatory. This includes having periodic reports, email alerts, and other real-time indicators of activity on the network.

4. You’re Not Managing IoT Access

The IoT explosion has made its way through the corporate doors. On top of the company sanctioned, secure work laptops, there are also unsecured personal computers, mobile devices, and many other devices connecting to your network 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This non-stop level of accessibility makes it all the more important to segregate users’ folders and their access to the network. Controlling user access levels will help you separate them from important data, so that only the people and devices that should be able to access the data can access it.

5. You Don’t Provide Users with the Proper Tools

Your users have one end goal in mind: get the job done. In the face of constant change, project deadlines, on top of their daily tasks, your users have one end goal in mind. They want to do their job and contribute to the success of their organization. However, if they do not have access to the tools they need to accomplish their goals, they may feel the need to improvise and seek out workarounds.

As a result, they may download free consumer-grade applications that as a means to transfer sensitive data to partners, vendors, and other external parties over unsecured paths. This common practice of shadow IT, where employees seek out solutions outside of IT purview, exposes an organization to various security vulnerabilities. While shadow IT may seem to work in the short term for employees and their daily business objectives, the practice obscures IT visibility and interferes with their ability to monitor and control an organization’s data and network.

Simplifying the Process of Securing Data

Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a very important defensive layer that is often overlooked or ignored based on a misconception of being unwieldy, expensive, or requiring new employee skillsets to manage it. On the contrary, a solid MFT solution can simplify the management of an organization’s critical file transfers and workflows through a centralized and user-friendly platform. Additionally, MFT enhances the efficiency of business processes through file transfer automation, eliminating the need for manual processes and homegrown scripts. With MFT, organizations can accomplish more, with less time and resources.

An MFT platform provides a secure and efficient system of management for any organization that must move and protect data to meet both business and compliance requirements, from the simple and secure ad hoc file transfer to the more complex and high-volume file transfer workflow.

MFT allows you to have full operational visibility, enabling you to monitor and control each of those file transfer systems and security layers all in one location. When an MFT platform sits inside your network, you can manage activity on your network, such as allowing or blocking IP addresses, multi-factor authentication, encryption, real-time reporting, email alerts, and other active security measures.

Your business is a complex and dynamic entity, constantly moving and shifting gears. Risk exposure in the modern business world is greater with continued growth and movement of data. If you want to get a better handle on securing your data in the process, then an MFT platform is the best solution to support and strengthen your security strategy.

An MFT platform can secure your data transfers, integrate legacy workflows and authentication systems, while also help you oversee all file transfer activities within your network, so you can watch (or block) what’s coming into and going out of the network 24/7.

Discover the security supporting benefits of a managed file transfer platform in our guide, “Is FTP Really Enough?” or “Do You Know Where Your Data is?”