Data Security Threats
Proper preparation and an understanding of the top data security threats are a necessity in today’s global marketplace. If businesses don’t want to pay hefty financial and experience dramatic client losses down the road, then they need to protect against the following data security threats:
- Employees Lacking Proper Data Security Training. In today’s digitally driven marketplace, one of the biggest threats to data security is a company’s employees. Employees need to be trained on best practice data security protocols. Simple training lessons in the following areas can greatly help protect a company’s sensitive data:
- Training on how to spot a phishing scam via phone, email, and social media.
- Understanding the importance of creating a secure password and changing passwords every 30 to 60 days.
- How to use encryption when sending sensitive data via email.
- Implementing a controlled environment, whereby a single employee doesn’t have access to all of the company’s sensitive data.
- Reporting protocols if an employee suspects that their credentials have been stolen.
- How to conduct the appropriate security updates on any work device (smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops).
- Patch Management System Lapses.Data security is about more than protecting against a digital hacker. For your business to truly be secure, you must take the steps needed to protect your network devices. These devices include routers, servers, and printers that use software or firmware as part of their operation. Occasionally these devices either don’t have a patch for an existing vulnerability, the patch was not created or sent, or their hardware is not capable of updating after the discovery of a vulnerability. If any of your company’s devices are vulnerable, then hackers can exploit them and lay in wait to gain access to your company’s data. Review the patch management systems in your devices today to avoid a data hack your business can’t afford.
- Failing to Hire the Right Data Security Talent.As discussed our latest blog post on cybersecurity C-level management needs to hire the necessary technology experts now to protect against future attacks. By staying up-to-date on the latest data security roles, companies can remain better protected against the latest cyber attack tactics. It’s important to note that as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve and expand, so too will the professional skills needed to combat current and future threats.
In this vein, the right technology experts will identify and implement the policies, procedures, management tactics, and methods needed to protect company networks, information, and brand reputation. Through an up-to-date and intimate understanding of the latest data security risks, a high-quality team of IT experts is well-equipped to immediately detect any unauthorized activity, so that a breach can be stopped before it has negative impacts on company data, resources, clients, and personnel.
Attacks that can be prevented if a user understands viruses and malware include:
- Credential theft: Often users with high threat ignorance use passwords that are too easy to guess or use the same password for every account. Once this password is identified, the entire system and any data that person has access to can be compromised.
- Phishing and spear phishing attacks: This is an attempt to access an individual’s personal information by tricking them into allowing malware onto their device. Since these attacks are disguised, users that do not know how to identify them are at risk.
- Email spoofing attacks: This is when emails are sent with fake email addresses made to look like it is from a known person. A more specific example of this is CEO fraud, when an attacker impersonates an important member of an organization to gain the trust of an unsuspecting user.
- Denial-of-service attacks: Attackers prevent legitimate users from accessing resources with these attacks, making it hard for users with high threat ignorance to regain control over the system.
- Automatic update attacks: This type of attack takes advantage of the automatic update functions to push spam to the device. Since most device or software updates are unsuspecting, this makes it easy to infect an unaware user.
Best practices to minimize threat ignorance
While most users or organizations will possess some level of threat ignorance, the goal is to make it as minimal as possible. Ways to accomplish this include:
- Train staff to be able to detect common security threats.
- Educate employees to stay on top of updates and maintain proper anti-virus and anti-malware programs.
- Dedicate a single employee or team to handle security for the organization.
- Stay updated on risk analyses.
- Enforce password rules, like complexity, confidentiality and routine changes.
- Require that devices are password protected or use two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Classify the levels of protection for different sets of resources and create appropriate security protocols for each level.
- Follow up after security trainings to check employee comprehension.