Your data is an incredibly valuable asset. Data can be anything, from customer information for marketing and sales purposes, to staff information, to patient files. All of this data provides use to you, and to those people as well. However, having this information on hand also makes your enterprise a potential victim of cyber attacks and data breaches.
Enterprise companies carry unique risks. They are more likely to have several locations where there are workers, and they are more likely to have people working remotely with sensitive data. With so many possible users, it’s difficult to track how secure everyone is with their access to the internet and to the portals that contain sensitive and confidential data. As we head into 2022, there is no sign that hackers are slowing their attacks, and errors can always lead to data getting exposed. Here are some data security best practices for enterprises in the year to come.
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Dangers of Data Breaches
Being the victim of a cyber attack or a data breach can have several possible negative consequences. For one, it will affect the people whose data you have stored. This could be confidential patient information, customer financial data, or employee financial and personal data. If you or someone at your company was negligent, you could face lawsuits and have to defend your company in court.
There are also several financial consequences, such as a loss of revenue due to a lack of trust. You may also face legal fines or other penalties if you’ve broken the law in some way. Some cyberattacks focus on extortion or ransom of data, and you may find yourself paying huge sums of money to have your data released back to you so you can get back to business. Any one of these scenarios can be crippling to an enterprise, so you need to do what you can to avoid them.
Education and Training
While you, your management team, and your IT department may have knowledge of security threats and how to protect against them, many of your employees might now. In an enterprise, there are no doubt employees who have different levels of knowledge and skills when it comes to computers and the internet. They may not realize how prevalent cyber threats are, and how likely it is to be targeted.
You need to have a training and education regime in place to let your staff know about the risks. They need to understand that the actions they take as individuals can affect the entire network as a whole. It can [ut data at risk, which means the welfare of the company could be at risk, too.
One of the easiest ways for a hacker or cyber-criminal to access secure data is through a user’s credentials. They can often get them either through social engineering scams on social media or by the law of averages. People tend to choose passwords that are easy to remember and have a personal connection. Even if a portal requires extra numbers and characters, they still choose something simple like “1234” and an exclamation point. Having strong passwords for everyone in your enterprise is one of the keys to a strong and secure network. How do you get everyone to create one, though?
You can put restrictions on those portals so that users have to enter more complicated passwords, but even that is not enough. However, using a password vault for enterprise employees is often the answer. Such a tool can create complicated passwords that are practically impossible to guess or remember. It then stores them in an encrypted space where they can be accessed at any time. Your IT department can also have a level of management over these passwords so that they can monitor in case anyone has one that isn’t strong enough.
Along with requiring strong passwords that are monitored and stored by a password management service, you can also require additional security. When you implement two-factor authorization, users will need more than a password to get access. Along with entering in their code, they will also have to have a phone or device nearby. The portal will send another, time-sensitive code to that authorized device. The user can then access the portal by entering that code within the given timeframe. This means that they will have to have both the password and the device nearby to get access.
Along with two-factor authorization is a biometric authorization. This could take the form of fingerprint scanning or facial recognition. This again means that for a hacker to get access, they would need the password and also have access to the user’s fingerprints or face. That would be pretty unlikely.
It has never been easier to have employees work remotely. Communication web tools make it almost seamless, as document sharing, meetings, and feedback can happen no matter where everyone is in the world. However, this often means that employees are working from their home wifi networks. These networks are usually not as secure as the ones they use at the office, and hackers can take advantage of that. Your IT department would have no control over how your remote workers are accessing the internet.
However, you can provide all of your remote workers with a virtual private network (VPN). This will create a new network that has all of the security in place to keep your data secure no matter where your employees are accessing the web. The network is activated by a small device that users have to log into before trying to access any work-related portals.
In an enterprise, it’s probably not hard to find users who don’t keep their software up-to-date. They push it off until later, and some get behind by several versions at a time. Many think that there’s no point in upgrading if they feel like things are working fine for them as it is. However, upgrades aren’t just about the performance of the software or operating system.
Upgrades often contain important security patches. These patches remain created when the developer identifies weaknesses that could remain exploited by hackers and criminals. Even worse, they may have already remained exploited. If your employees are not accepting software updates, you could be vulnerable, even if it’s just a few days late. Make sure that you have a policy for immediately updating the software so that your network remains always protected as well as it can be.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware
Make sure that every device your employees are using has appropriate antivirus and anti-malware protection. Viruses can corrupt your files and cause data loss. Malware is software programs that can infiltrate your computer and allow access to an outside user, track your keystrokes. Or do any number of nefarious things with your devices. There is no way to remain 100% protected against these threats. But anti-virus and malware programs will help give you the best protection possible.
Don’t ever take your enterprise’s security for granted. To keep your data safe. It takes everyone in the company to work together and be diligent about their internet safety. By following these best practices, you can make sure that your enterprise is secure and everyone remain protected.