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Neglecting data security can no longer be the norm

Neglecting data security can no longer be the norm 1

By Scott Chenery, Regional Manager UK & Ireland at Kiteworks

In the current digital age, cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns facing organisations around the world. Ransomware, fraud, stolen information, insider threats – these are just some of the many security risks that businesses must defend against. To make matters worse, these attacks are not solely being instigated by the everyday hacker who is sitting in a dark room attempting to cause chaos. Gathered intelligence has indicated that more and more of these attacks are being driven by organised hacking gangs that have nation-state backing, in terms of finances, resources and technology.

Understandably, no organisation wants to be attacked as the stakes are too high – the company’s very survival and reputation depends on it. For this reason, the following guidance will aid any business in its efforts to defend against such threats, particularly if they use a content protection platform.

A breach from oversharing

The modus operandi for most hackers is to cause as much disruption by exploiting a system’s weakness, assume control and steal any sensitive data – all while being undetected. This can cause a serious amount of damage, especially in today’s working climate where there is an increased onus for collaborative working and sharing information. There are many variables to consider when sending a document and receiving it and this process must not be left unsecured.

For example, most of the business applications found on the market are not natively secured meaning they are not integrated at the design and development stage. Any security elements are therefore added after the functional layers – this is too late in the cycle as security needs to be embedded from the beginning. Organisations will then use these applications to share sensitive information with external partners but because these environments are unsecure, cybercriminals have an easier time to carry out cyberattacks designed to steal data or extort the victim.

To counter this situation, businesses are advised to utilise a secure platform that permits data sharing while also housing the capabilities of MFA, role-based access and rights management capabilities, encryption, and AI, to flag any suspicious activities instantly to the SOC team.

Data security should be top of the list

When addressing security for an enterprise, protecting the environment is usually the first step taken but there are reasons as to why this is a common mistake: traditionally, organisations will use a security solution or tool to add protection across both the network and the applications used while forgetting to deploy dedicated data security. This is seemingly illogical, given that data is what the hackers seek the most.

For business operations to succeed, data needs to be shared and stored with internal departments and external partners. Yet, as soon as the information is shared, the risk of it being exposed rises and, as a result, protecting the data’s environment has become the go to approach to counter this. But it is not enough to protect data during transmission, it must also be protected wherever the data is stored.

A change in strategy is required whereby prioritising the security of data – on a continuous basis – is the main focus. Organisations should seek out a platform that is developed for this specific purpose and is designed to reduce and prevent data-related attacks. Furthermore, having constant visibility, traceability and auditability of all data transactions in a single-pane view is paramount.

Users need the right tools to succeed

Cybersecurity does not need to be an obstacle for users, yet there is a common perception it is. At its core, without the necessary cybersecurity in place, the risk of failure and attack is only amplified. Therefore, having a platform that can be successfully used by an organisation’s key users is necessary.

For instance, the primary user would be the IT team, who desire a platform that integrates with the tools in already place, is compatible in all cloud iterations (on premise, cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid) and can consolidate all their security requirements in one system which will save time, efficiency and overall costs.

Moreover, having the solution regularly pen-tested and subscribed to a bug bounty programme will ensure any flaws are remediated throughout its development lifecycle. If any updates are made these must first be approved by the CISO or security lead before deployment.

The secondary user of the platform would be the general employee who require simple access, ease of use and compatibility with the leading internet browsers. The implementation of plugins for the most popular software and applications is a needed benefit to make the user experience all that more positive. Most importantly though, the ideal content protection platform will provide users the ability to send emails and share files in a secure manner on the chosen browser.

To conclude, we have reached a critical point where cyberattacks are occurring almost daily and regulations are demanding enterprises follow strict data security and privacy rules. As a result, an offensive security mindset is needed to survive in this current era with the view that any system or application can be exploited. Ensure security is being integrated into every component of the organisation and the solutions it uses, as only then will they succeed in thwarting the next attack and protecting their sensitive data.

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