IT professionals are naturally familiar with the numerous statistics about network traffic and data security. In this day and age, hackers are increasingly incentivized to obtain your company’s data, and they’re ready to go to great lengths to acquire it.
Every company has some degree of struggle to keep up with data security. This is largely due to the near-constant development of new technologies and the advanced methods to access data using them.
Data security threats come from both inside and outside of an organization. However, through the implementation of the right security measures, your company can significantly reduce these risks.
Herein is an overview of five solutions for protecting your company data from hackers.
1. Utilize Services That Secure Network Channels
One of the ways to secure data automatically is to ensure employees change or conceal the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses on devices they use to access company networks. This is especially important for employees accessing networks remotely.
Sophisticated hackers can employ IP addresses to compromise an employee's endpoint, thus putting the network at risk. There are several ways to obtain a fake IP address as detailed below:
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): VPNs utilize remote servers to create a secure tunnel between a website and a computer. All applications running across a VPN benefit from the security, management, and functionality of the private network. VPN can allow your employees to access a corporate intranet securely from remote locations. This is a great option to create a secure and cohesive network if the offices in your organization are geographically separated. VPN services utilize data encryption to further protect your data.
- Smart DNS: Smart DNS is software that enables users to conceal their IP addresses. It is similar to a VPN but does not feature data encryption. However, Smart DNS is not as secure as a VPN program.
- Tor (The Onion Router): Tor is an open-source software that facilitates anonymous communication. It directs traffic via a worldwide overlay network of thousands of relays. This process conceals a user's location and prevents network surveillance from potentially malicious actors. Tor is not recommendable for company purposes since it can exhibit slow connections.
The best option for your company would be to use VPN services since they offer data encryption while maintaining connection speeds.
2. Develop A Security-Focused Mindset In The Company
This is the most important step and is often easier said than done. If you do not have the right people onboard, any policies suggested will be largely ineffective. Before best practices can be implemented, the individuals who are most invested in the company must have the right mindset about keeping information safe.
Since company data is your organization's most vital asset, all executives need to appreciate the true cost of a data breach.
This process is often difficult - especially for large companies - due to their existing company cultures. The focus should be on open communication and dedication around all things related to network and data security. Company employees may push back stating various concerns. The best approach to address this is to objectively demonstrate the risks and help employees realize the detrimental nature of data breaches to the business, and to them by extension.
All parties associated with the company have to understand that the potential cost of a data breach would far exceed that of implementing an effective data security strategy. Security breach costs may include fines, embarrassing investigations, cleanups and litigation costs, irreparable damages and a full revamp of business strategy, follow up costs as well as reputation restoration costs.
Once employees realize that data security is pivotal to the success of a company today, then implementing these policies will be a smoother process.
3. Protect Network Infrastructure With Endpoint Security
Many companies today have implemented exclusionary security policies regarding the use of unsecured devices on the company network. However, this does not completely deter staff members from plugging in devices to the network, such as USB flash drives.
If your company network is unguarded, the potential for a cyber attack significantly increases. Endpoint security serves to prevent this from happening.
With endpoint security, you can further protect network infrastructure with strict policies that prevent certain devices from accessing the network. The stakes are high pending this type of cyber attack - a single rogue memory device, for instance, could leak sensitive client data and haunt your company for years.
A well-implemented endpoint security mechanism will ensure users are forced to utilize specific products or brands that you allow. It also maintains complete automatic compliance with security regulations in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models. Endpoint security involves locking down the network and developing use scenario restrictions. As such, you take control over USB devices, internet traffic, mobile devices and content awareness on the network.
There are three key aspects of endpoint security:
- a.Creating strong security rules as the administrator.
- b.Developing restrictions on what can be plugged into a network.
- c.Monitoring, reporting and blocking certain actions on the basis of security criteria.
4. Minimize Data Storage Locations
Your company's overall exposure to possible data breaches increases with each data storage location. Multiple data storage locations also multiply the efforts your company has to expend to keep the information secure. Aim to minimize the number of storage locations and devices in order to simplify your information security program. This also decreases the chances that a vulnerability would be overlooked.
Storing sensitive information at a central cloud-based location with strict access controls, encryption and monitoring is a better choice than managing numerous data storage systems. This is especially important for small or medium-sized companies with limited in-house IT resources and budgets.
Cloud storage may have its drawbacks, but this method keeps information safer from hackers. Start by formulating a plan to consolidate, encrypt and store sensitive data centrally.
A secure cloud-based system enables long-term protection and accessibility as required. It is advisable to remove sensitive data from extraneous storage locations and devices that are set for destruction or reuse. It is worth noting that removing data is not merely deleting it. Stored data must be wiped clean using software that is developed for that task.
5. Be Prepared Through Data Backups
Hackers are getting bolder and more sophisticated by the day. The potential for security breaches among companies continues to rise. You would like to keep this from happening, but the reality is that a breach can target any company at any time.
While having the right data security policies in place is the key step, being prepared in the event of a breach is just as important. The best way to do this is by keeping a backup of company data. This can be very crucial following ransomware attacks, where hackers block access to sensitive data. Some malicious actors also utilize aggressive malware that can corrupt files.
In many of these cases, the affected parties have to reboot their systems. Having backups will be essential in the restoration of this information. Lack of a data recovery systems can have disastrous consequences for your business.
There are many other ways to protect company data including conducting security audits, protecting the mobile workforce and regularly updating software to keep up with security patches and fixes. The sooner you start incorporating proper data security policies, the sooner your company can be safe from the potential threats posed by hackers.