Now more than ever, we are all connected by one device or another. We are always plugged in and absorbed in our digital life. The more we evolve, the more the online world becomes a commonplace for each of us to recklessly dive headfirst into a sea of information technology. Moreover, as environmental sustainability is highly regarded in the present-day, most companies are expected to reduce their paper trail and increase productivity on electronic devices. The existence of such an immense data flow used for lucrative projects begs the following question: Are you prepared to protect your company’s data?
Best Practices to Eliminate Risks of Data Breaches
- Data Encryption: The key decision-maker of an organization must exhaustively scrutinize all security measures that are most appropriate for their company. A relatively standard safeguard against breaches is data encryption; an effective tool if used attentively. Ultimately, an encrypted database allows the transformation of information to become intelligible content to a potential hacker. In layman’s terms, an encryption refers to a process of translating plaintext into cypher text to unauthorized users, making it very difficult to decipher the information at hand. Although, encryption has been used over many decades to put an end to an interceptor’s interference, it should be noted that key management is immensely necessary, particularly if you have a few different management systems which are all encrypted. For instance, an encrypted database supported by an encrypted archive system would need various keys for different parties. According to research, it is strongly recommended to implement a high-end encryption on a fundamental infrastructure to avoid any performance issues.
- Data Parameters: Minimize your data collection by maintaining a strict implementation design. To do so, it is imperative to ascertain whether the data gathered is valuable or not. The next step involves the integration of strict parameters to manage access by authorized accounts. Data erasure protocols should be enforced for when a data storage lifespan expires. This should be a no-brainer to adhere to since data erasure is a requisite for GDPR compliance. It is important to bear in mind that the longer you have data stored, the more chances are that they may pose a threat after a few years. Therefore, you must strategically purge data once a consensus has been reached regarding the necessity of the data for the business.
- Data Protection: Take an informed decision on the level of data protection needed for your company and invest in effective security tools such as Digital Rights Management (DRM), web application firewalls, anti-DDoS solutions, cloud security, mobile security, integrated security appliance and advanced endpoint security.
- DRM: Digital content can always be encrypted by providing a key to authorized users. However, there is an unfortunate possibility that a key may be copied. Luckily, there exists a technology that rectifies similar situations. A DRM enabled system allows copyrighter digital content to be encrypted with a key reinforced with a set of rules adopted in a digital license. Consequently, the DRM software will analyse the rules in the given license to determine whether all is satisfactory and thus will access the key and decrypt the content for the rightful owner of the content. DRM is a practical strategy for all businesses protecting any type of digital content whether it is used for the purposes of preserving private documents, emails, medical records, music, movies, video files etc.
- Firewalls: Many computers lack another basic network security system: web-application firewalls. This defense system rejects a multitude of dangerous and untrusted interferences such as malware, viruses, trojans and primarily any intrusion from an external network such as the internet. Firewalls can take two different forms of software: a security program or a physical router. Both software applications perform the same function such as examining incoming traffic to ensure there are no compromised data. The examining process consists of a breakdown and reduction in size of the data allowing a simpler and manageable scan for malicious data. To establish a more secure and sophisticated operating system, you may want to combine you firewall solution with an anti-virus program. You should also ensure that your employees do not have the capabilities to disable these on their computers.
- Cloud Security: Cloud security is worth exploring and fully comprehending if you are looking to protect this form of data from being leaked, stolen or erased. Essentially, there are three critical adoption models of cloud services to familiarize with and to add to your list of studies: IaaS, PaaS and Saas. Since cloud security involves a shared responsibility between the user and the provider in terms of securing your cloud environment, the burden of responsibility will all depend on the service model that you have adopted. Always keep in mind that the cloud provider is generally responsible for the infrastructure security. However, the user should ensure that the data available on said infrastructure is entirely secure.
- Mobile Security: Mobile security should also be incorporated in your routine for best practices. Generally, the creator of a mobile application is notably mindful of any security concerns when designing the application. Nonetheless, a user may still encounter a problem, such as malicious app downloads. Suddenly the operating system is penetrated by an unauthorized user who can easily use social engineering to gain sensitive data. Notwithstanding, there are alternative courses of action to prevent such troubling scenarios. For instance, app wrapping essentially builds many security levels with the option for the creator of the application to choose the policy features and restrict certain actions e.g. opting to not save specific entries. Furthermore, there is the wise choice of encrypting critical data. In addition, it is worthwhile to invest some great thought for the use of a Software Development Kit (“SDK”) which resembles a starter kit for the integration of security reinforcement and thus is exceptionally convenient when initially originating a new application. One of the greatest preventative strategies for mobile data intrusion is the act of obfuscating which consists of a process where the app creator conceals the exclusive message at hand by transforming the intelligible data into an obscure language.
Advanced Endpoint Security
Now that we have highlighted the basic traditional cyber protection tools above, let’s move on to another sacred security system – advanced endpoint security. You might think that your job is over once you have formed a solid perimeter fortification, but your effort does not end there. Nonetheless, the endpoint can be penetrated externally. You need to strengthen the perimeter all-around, and not only externally, because modern malware can get passed defences quite easily and rapidly. For instance, let’s say an employee decides to plug in an infected USB device in his work computer without any knowledge of the USB device being corrupted. The device then prompts the operating system on the computer to open an apparent pdf document. This document turns out to be an .exe file in the form of a silent malware and tries to connect to an external IP. This will invite great danger to the employee’s work computer and potentially to your company’s entire computer system. Despite anti-virus softwares, an externally brought malware can still maneuver its way through an operating system while still being undetectable. Having an advanced endpoint security will help with the detection of such malware and respond in real time.
One of the top methods in ensuring the best possible data security for your business, is to educate your employees on data prevention safeguards and to furnish them with relevant training for security awareness. Never underestimate the value in teaching your employees about cyber threats, repercussions of ignorance, adherence to applicable regulations, and the development of solution orientation that ensures a more active approach when dealing with data protection. It should be emphasized that trainings must be consistent with very specific notions. To stay consistent, you will need to schedule sessions in advanced and plan the content accordingly.
At Demkor, we encourage employee development and provide trainings through the BE.Trained tool regarding data protection and privacy to keep up with constantly changing technology.
Data Breach Response Plan
Last but still very important, your organization should conceive a data breach response plan. Although the GDPR requires corporations to notify the appropriate regulatory authority and data subjects of a data breach no later than 72 hours, not all organizations enforce such plans. To start, you must assemble a strong response team for when a data breach occurs and as a result you will immediately eliminate any ambiguity in roles and responsibility when the time comes to execute the damage control assignment. It will be crucial to prepare drafts for notification and brief processes to quickly follow as a guideline which will serve as a standard model for newly hired employees.
Demkor can assist you with all the above by equipping your organization with ready-made post-breach notification templates addressed to the designated regulator available through the BNR.Finder solution. By the same token, Demkor offers process maps specifically designed for your business and accessible through the PRO.Maps tool.