Taking your enterprise's data security to the next level

The collection of data has become easier, while access to it has become more necessary and the threat of unauthorized access even greater

24May

Using various technologies, businesses are able to collect, store and analyze data ranging from consumer behavior to predictive analytics. To be useful, this data has to be shared organization-wide with the right people and departments. With employees being allowed to access the organization's network from their personal devices and also remotely, hackers have found a new favorite way to get inside the systems – exploiting vulnerabilities at various end-points.

For heads of security, the quandary of allowing unrestricted access to data internally while protecting it from criminals is common. Clearly, the systems in place are not enough to guarantee security.

Today, data security is not all about building walls between you and the bad guys. As recent data breaches have demonstrated, criminals will find a way to climb the wall. The concern is for what they find once they are inside. This has driven a shift from protecting the perimeter to protecting the data itself.

Most organizations allow data to flow freely between applications, departments and staff. Think about how many applications customer behavior data has to go through across the numerous departments of an organization. For this reason, data security ought to be end-to-end and allow full functionality.

Adopt managed security services

The temptation to scrimp on security is strongest for small and medium enterprises. While established organizations set aside a budget for security and expert counsel, most small businesses do not have the luxury.

But data security is not a luxury for businesses. Not anymore. Due to the growing complexity of the enterprise IT environment and the inadequate cybersecurity talent pool, managed security service providers (MSSP) have become increasingly in demand across various industries, bringing professional security management within reach for small and medium enterprises.

Since they operate primarily on the cloud, MSSPs are able to offer managed security services at a much lower price than a consultant or an expert employee. They provide 24/7 monitoring and response for security events within the organization. Additionally, they offer a range of services such as on-demand CISO, anti-virus and anti-malware. These solutions are built from the ground up, where the system is designed with data security in mind.

With an MSSP, your business gets at its disposal the security tools of a large organization along with experienced staff at a significantly lower cost than even a business liability insurance. It allows you to implement goals that only a large business would typically consider.

Make use of AI

Some enterprises and security vendors are taking a more proactive approach to data security. Rather than reacting to data breaches post hoc, they are using AI and machine learning (ML) to predict when the next breach will happen. Then they protect themselves.

ML algorithms and other AI techniques are being used to identify data patterns, pinpoint vulnerabilities in user behavior and predict security trends. Using this data, businesses hope to stop the next data breach.

With AI ever-present in modern tools – including chatbots, virtual assistants and business websites – it is just the right environment in which to teach ML, which in turn teaches programs to identify malicious parts without active human participation.

From CRM software to sales to consumer online behavior data, businesses are able to apply AI to these data sets to uncover insights and teach ML, which improves with the data fed into it. Such AI-infused software aims at completely automating prediction, detection and response.

Automating data security with AI and ML will alleviate the burden on employees and help organizations to handle cyberattacks in a more efficient manner.

Avoid over-reliance on legacy technology

Many businesses, especially the large and established organizations, risk over-relying on legacy software and systems. Instead of integrating new more agile software, these businesses prefer using the same software that was put in place two or three decades ago. Most have invested so much time and resources into their existing solutions that the prospect of replacing them seems too daunting to face.

Additionally, with their resources barely enough to keep the business afloat in a tough market, the last thing that a leader wants to turn their attention to is a system that, for the time being, appears to be working adequately. But this approach is flawed in a number of ways.

As technology advances, every business will need to upgrade its hardware along with other technologies. Trying to get legacy technology to work with the new is difficult and costly. For instance, legacy software cannot work on new hardware except with the help of a programmer – which means paying a premium for professional installation and maintenance services. In comparison, the alternative seems like a smarter business move.

Additionally, as people move to new technologies, the IT specialists for legacy systems continually become rarer, which means the risk of glitches or issues that require immediate attention not getting fixed in time increases, as do the associated costs.

At the core, the fear of change and disruption of a daily routine is what feeds the over-reliance on legacy technology. But unlike in the past when migrating into a new system meant moving into an off-the-shelf system, today solutions are tailored to your business, which ensures a smooth and more cost-effective transition. By partnering with a development house, you can build a solution for your business from the ground up – one which takes into account the business's unique needs, challenges and opportunities. The transition is then organized into phases to maintain smooth running.

Data security is a growing concern for any business that aims to benefit from collecting and storing data. Technological advances are helping these businesses to remain protected as hackers find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. Being constantly on the lookout for better ways to protect your organization's data will keep you one step ahead of the bad guys.

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