Data protection nowadays is heavily dependent on the human factor. It’s the hardest to predict and get under control. A single reckless IT department guy, or a person anywhere else in the company, can cause notable breaches. Data security threats include typical methods of phishing attacks, ransomware, and hacking.
Experts usually divide data security threats into insider and outsider threats. The latter come from outside the organization. Hacktivists, other countries, and the competition are usually the culprits in this sense. Conversely, insider threats are sometimes more alarming since employees have access to so many internal systems.
In other words, a hazard in the making is a disgruntled employee on their way out of the company. The only thing this person usually wants is to harm the firm’s reputation into oblivion. Not the best way to get yourself a recommendation letter, we can all agree.
Different Types of Data Security Threats
If you ask an IT person to talk about data security threats, you could soon find yourself regretting your decision. They will blather about out-of-date software, poor password security, and files downloaded from insecure sources.
If you face a particularly persistent IT person, then you are in for a rollercoaster of familiar and less-known words from the English dictionary.
Shadow IT is Shadowing Your IT
People often use the term shadow IT to describe the use of unauthorized third-party software, applications, or internet services. IT departments have a hard time tracking this behavior.
Companies usually authorize a particular set of apps and software that they then recommend to their employees. However, these suggestions typically fall on deaf ears. Employees often use familiar applications out of habit since they improve their productivity and ease their workload.
The management and company as a whole have no clue about this practice, creating a blind spot in cybersecurity strategies. That also applies to how employees communicate with each other and people outside the company.
Speaking of communication, consider The Most Secure Messaging Apps in 2021. This article helps you broaden your perspective on the topic of data security threats.
A company can prevent all this trouble by merely openly conversing with employees about their technological needs. The firm can provide them with the right tools to implement their tasks. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software comes in handy here.
In this sense, a company can prevent its employees from uploading sensitive data to unauthorized services. That could save you from many headaches that cybersecurity attacks occasionally produce.
Prepare for Physical Theft
A more conspicuous form of data security threats is the physical theft of company devices. It also produces long-lasting consequences for the entire company. If proper IT policies aren’t in place, this slip can cost you millions of dollars yearly.
Not everybody should have access to critical information or devices inside your firm. That’s especially critical in companies with hundreds of employees. Stealing a hard drive, laptop, or USB stick can have a crippling effect. It can also be the employee’s fault for bringing portable devices out of the office. For these reasons, it’s vital to restrict access to only the chosen few.
On the other hand, encryption is king in protecting yourself against physical theft. Intruders and malicious individuals can’t do anything with the devices if the proper encryptions software is in place.
Emergency Response Plan to the Rescue
Apart from all the advice we have provided so far, there is still something missing. You guessed right. It’s an emergency response plan. To make your company invincible or at least harden it to the point of remarkable resilience, stop avoiding emergency response plans. Embrace them.
Yes, it’s nearly impossible to maintain absolute security. Not even the most prominent companies have the perfect solutions. The closest you can get to one is keeping a record of security procedures and planning for the worst-case scenario.
For your convenience, an emergency response plan contains the following aspects for dealing with data security threats:
- Detailed lists of emergency response personnel, phone numbers, relevant contact details, and duties.
- Every possible consequence, emergency, necessary action, written procedure, and available resource.
The three pillars of bulletproof emergency response planning are how to act in an emergency, mitigate risk, and minimize loss.
This plan’s central goal is to reduce damage to property in an emergency. And yes, data is considered the property of a company. In the field of IT, you will need to conduct an audit of your vital systems. Secondly, identify what risks they face from digital and physical threats. And you are good to go. Okay, not so fast.
What Else You Should Know About Data Security Threats
The third step involves training your employees to react in case of intrusion. However, you won’t be only doing this for the sake of vital company systems. No way, you are also performing this task to evaluate the financial impact on your company. Because, after all, that’s what it’s mostly about ― revenue.
Your company’s customers and users would be quite disappointed with you if you were to leak their data. Still, even if data theft happens, what can you do?
For starters, you can conduct routine backups and maintenance procedures. That way, if the data gets stolen, at least you still have access to it and can mitigate some consequences.
Investing in employee training may be the single most important thing any company can do to reduce data security threats.
Now you know almost everything you need to be aware of about limiting data security threats in your company. We purposely didn’t say IT company because most businesses nowadays deal with some form of sensitive data.
The things you really, really, really need in the age of malware and various cybersecurity threats are the following:
- An IT department that knows what they are doing. On that note, check out our piece on the role that a security operations center plays.
- Emergency response plan or IT emergency response plan.
- Employee training to reduce insider threats.
- Backup and other maintenance procedures.
Finally, the awareness that threats exist and responding to them might be the second most important thing.
In this article, we suggested that you start thinking about this issue. Some would even say that we intended to scare you a bit. Some would say that, but not us.