Data security is one of the biggest concerns of any serious company. These days, this is more true than ever because, while the technology that can protect your documents, network and confidential digital information is admittedly getting better and better, so are unfortunately the ways to steal them from businesses or otherwise misuse them.
Now, we’re well into the year 2020 and the question is: are we finally close to finding a fool-proof way to eliminate data security risks, or are we still likely to be facing threats as serious as we have during the past several years? Heads up - you’re not going to like the answer.
Threats to data security are as real of an issue as ever, maybe even increasingly so. And them coming from the inside of your company is just as likely as facing an external breach. In addition, they’re not even always intentional. But luckily, there are some ways in which you can at least decrease your exposure, if not completely prevent the attack or breach.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the most common types of cyber threats that you should be prepared for in the upcoming year, as well as how to prepare for them and protect your data using some standard tools like firewalls, some not-so-standard tools like staff tracking software, and keeping in mind some common best practices.
Phishing, Hacking, and Other Threats Looming from the Outside
The most obvious kind of security threats are external ones. Unfortunately, many forms of outside risks to your data and files are still widespread in many industries, and they’re not just targeted at large corporations, but medium and small businesses are just as likely to be at risk.
When you mention the term ‘cyber threat’, many managers’ minds will first go to hacking. Hacking, malware, ransomware, and similar forms of cyber attacks are still waging a huge war with data security departments, firewalls, anti-virus programs, internal encryption, etc. This war isn’t close to being over. So, be prepared - invest in good data protection infrastructure, but also appreciate and develop your IT security team. High turnover in this sector leaves you open to attacks, so make sure your staff is competent and high-performing.
Another form of external threat, but a bit more covert than hacking, is phishing. This tactic relies on scamming your employees (or even your higher executives) in order to obtain sensitive information or access to documents or accounts. Not only is this malicious practice not likely to come out of fashion any time soon, but, according to some reports, last year has seen a staggering 250% increase in the number of phishing attempts. Adding to the list of reasons you should be worried, this type of fraud is very difficult to protect against by simply installing a computer program. The only effective way to make sure your company is less vulnerable to these attacks is to train your employees on how to recognize phishing attempts so that they don’t leak any sensitive information.
Internal Data Theft Risks
It’s not just external sources of cyber threat that you should be worried about. The trend of insider information leaks is on the rise among corporations. This happens for various reasons - employees leaking data for personal gain, such as financial compensation for selling it or a foot in the door at a competing company, past employers leaking data out of revenge, etc. In any case, this is a serious threat and you need to take it into consideration if you want to protect yourself in the future.
One way to do it is by installing staff tracking software. This system can tell you which applications your employees are using and where they go online, but you can also take screenshots of their computers to see in detail what really goes on. This is really handy for discovering perpetrators, but the real value of implementing staff tracking software lies in the fact that it can be a powerful deterrent. In other words, if your employees know that they’re being monitored and that their activities can be recorded, they’ll be discouraged from any form of malicious behavior or data breaches. And plus, even if a breach does happen, data from your staff tracking software will make you better equipped for the ensuing investigation.
Another thing you can do to decrease the possibility of falling victim to insider leaks is to restrict access to sensitive documents. Your HR department doesn’t need access to a client’s application’s source code, and your developers don’t need to see personal data on every other employee. Protect your information and only share access with the people who actually work with that data.
Yes, accidents happen. And sometimes they can cost your company a lot of money. Inadvertently leaking classified information or access to documents is more common than you might think, and it’s not likely to drop down in the future either.
So, again, in order to protect your data better, you need to be careful who has access to what. Narrowing this down will help prevent even accidental leaks. And also, educate your employees on how to handle the files and data that they do have access to. Have a clear protocol and guidelines and remind your employees to stick to them.
Another thing you can do is use staff tracking software to discover any potentially dangerous activity. For example, when employees visit file sharing sites or unprotected and untrusted domains. Getting these alerts from your staff tracking software will help you detect a threat early and react on time to prevent any further damage, even if the dangerous activity was completely accidental.
In the near future, unfortunately, cyber security risks are still going to be a huge and important consideration in the corporate world. However, the ways to protect yourself from them are developing and becoming more numerous as well, so it’s your job to educate your workforce and make sure to keep up to date with the upcoming trends.