Data security breaches are becoming more rampant, but there are several key areas business leaders should be aware of.
CEOs today face the daunting task of how best to handle data security and avoid data breaches. There are many CEOs who are not even aware of the potential threats to data, much less know about how to properly set up a firewall.
A standard response that CEOs give to the issue of how to handle data security is to shrug it off, pretend it isn’t going to happen to their company, and maybe introduce their “IT guy.” In a good number of cases, the IT guy is a young person just out of high school or college who has little to no experience in the field of data security.
However, in today’s world, where security breaches are becoming increasingly common and dramatically devastating, it is important for CEOs to be aware of the different types of security breaches, and of the damage such breaches can leave in its path.
According to research by IBM, the average cost of a data breach is around $3.8 million (a huge amount). Last year, 77% of businesses worldwide reported data breaches which cost them a loss of millions, and sometimes billions. A more concerning matter is the fact that 63% of companies don’t have a robust system in place to track such breaches and stop them before they start.
To ensure data is safe and security breaches don’t get past the first barrier, organizations should be equipped with proper tools and processes to secure these vulnerable areas and minimize risk.
Different Types of Security Breaches
Notice some of the sources through which a potential data security breach can occur:
Beyond threats from external hackers, there is a looming risk of company employees being the source of a security breach. Employees have easy access to the data of an organization and an angry or disappointed employee can easily abuse the data he has access to. In some cases, such an employee may go as far as to steal hardware devices or programs that contain valuable information and leave the company without the company’s knowledge.
One way of addressing this issue is by ensuring all user accounts are updated with employment status and the appropriate security access. It will be even better to have the access system reset periodically in real-time to remove any ambiguity that may cause a possible breach of security.
It becomes very challenging for organizations to ensure security measures if mobile devices are used frequently for work. This becomes even more threatening if companies don’t have a clearly defined BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. It has been observed that employees use their personal devices even for work purposes, which opens the door for data to easily be transmitted outside of the organization. With personal devices, companies have less control over security, passwords, and downloads which can cause serious threats.
If organizations want to allow BYOD, then it is critical to have clearly defined policies that educate employees about the threats related to BYOD and that establish the company’s expectations.
Outsourcing often helps companies save money, but the use of third-party services brings with it a level of risk. Service providers typically have access to company information. If the third-party were to experience a breach, the company’s data would be right in the middle of it. A simple example is financial software from an external provider. Without proper safeguards in place, the possibility exists for a hacker to gain access to financial records.
The best way to reduce the risk of a security breach through a service provider is to do some research before selecting the service provider. Even after a third-party service provider is selected, it is advisable to add an additional layer of security at the organization level.
Convenience can turn out to be costly. This is true in the case of cloud-based data storage applications, which are very easy to access from anywhere. However, without proper security measures in place, cloud systems can be extremely vulnerable to hacks, resulting in large-scale security breaches. While choosing the right cloud service provider, organizations must ensure that data is stored in an encrypted format. Dual authentication factors add extra security to the process.
It is always better to have proper checks and balances in place when it comes to setting up security measures. Clearly defined processes and policies will ensure data is protected. If the need ever arises to hire an outside provider, then consider creating a checklist that covers all security factors, and establish an additional layer of security to ensure data is not easily accessible.