Keep Your Organization Safe Online
Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Every year, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) aims to improve the data security practices of the nation. This year, CISA has taken the opportunity to launch an awareness campaign with four simple steps, reminding individuals that “It’s easy to stay safe online.”
As a CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Month Partner, we’ve created a shareable visual resource outlining four steps every business should take to stay safe online. But we also wanted to expand on our recommendations and share some additional insights on data protection in the form of a blog post. Here are four of the most important cybersecurity considerations for keeping your company safe online — and a bonus fifth point for good measure.
Five steps for better organizational cybersecurity
1. Get state-of-the-art encryption tools
Encryption is the first line of defense against data breaches and cyberattacks, and for good reason. It helps organizations maintain data confidentiality and integrity, and it’s a good way to enhance customer trust.
There’s a wide range of technologies that perform different kinds of encryption — including symmetric, asymmetric, and end-to-end encryption — for different purposes. It can be difficult to know which solutions are best to secure your sensitive data, but file-level encryption is a common choice for separation of duties between data owners and infrastructure providers in order to protect against unauthorized access.
Because traditional file-level encryption technologies often introduce complexity, impact performance, and lack resilience, we also recommend considering an agentless solution. The ShardSecure platform provides one such solution, offering an innovative approach to file-level encryption that provides data security and resilience without adding complexity or slowing performance.
2. Increase organizational awareness
Over 3 billion phishing emails are sent every day, with attacks costing $2.7 billion in the US alone last year. In 2023, 36% of all data breaches have involved phishing, making it the second most common cause of data breaches after human error.
Sadly, phishing attacks are just one of many cyberthreats that employees can fall prey to. There’s also ransomware, password theft, texting scams, and good old-fashioned computer viruses, all of which can wreak havoc on a company’s systems and sensitive data.
Part of the challenge is shifting our perspective. We often attribute insider threats to malicious or disgruntled former employees, but the reality is that over two out of three insider threats happen either unintentionally or through negligence. It’s all too common for workers to put an organization at risk by accidentally disclosing sensitive information, downloading malware, choosing weak login credentials, and much more.
Luckily, 84% of US organizations have stated that conducting security awareness training has helped reduce the rate of successful phishing attacks, and the same holds true for other forms of cyberthreats. This training should be regular and robust, and it should touch on topics like good password practices, social engineering, phishing attacks, and mobile device security.
To minimize risk, make ongoing security education a fundamental part of your company’s culture. Check out our Data Security for Non-IT Staff Infographic for more detailed suggestions.
3. Keep data private
A major part of keeping your organization safe online is keeping your sensitive data private. This can help prevent major revenue loss, IP theft, reputational damage, and significant legal and regulatory fines.
One of the most important steps in ensuring data privacy is to establish strong access controls. Specifically, companies should:
- Implement role-based access controls (RBAC) to restrict access to sensitive data.
- Implement the principle of least privilege access, meaning that team members are only given access to the information that’s absolutely necessary for their roles.
- Regularly audit access permissions to ensure that permissions are up to date and aligned with current employee roles and responsibilities. Some businesses may turn to automated RBAC monitoring tools to more closely track system access.
Unfortunately, even robust access controls are not always enough, as they usually don’t address the issue of infrastructure provider access to your data. Cloud and local storage admins, for instance, can often access sensitive data stored within their services. For an extra layer of security, companies may choose a solution that desensitizes sensitive data and mitigates the problem of unauthorized access.
4. Invest in regular monitoring tools
Cyberthreats are a year-round concern, which makes strong cybersecurity an ongoing process. Organizations should continuously monitor their networks for unauthorized access, and they should consider using advanced monitoring tools and intrusion detection systems to do so.
Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have provided an assist with cybersecurity monitoring and prevention, allowing companies to quickly analyze millions of digital events and identify threats in real time. AI-based tools can grow more effective over time, allowing them to keep up with emerging cyberthreats and identify deviations from historic patterns and trends. No wonder, then, that over 75% of businesses have considered AI for use in their IT budgets.
In addition to investing in monitoring systems, AI or otherwise, businesses should also regularly update and patch software and devices. This is particularly important in sectors like manufacturing and healthcare, which often rely on vulnerable legacy technologies and don’t allow for advanced monitoring.
5. Bonus: Stay ahead of the shifting regulatory landscape
One more point to consider: Staying safe online means protecting your company from cybercriminals and nation-state attackers. But it also means not running afoul of regulatory authorities in your jurisdiction, which requires you to prioritize compliance.
Data protection regulations are changing rapidly, from the recent approval of the EU-US Data Privacy Framework to the rise of state-level data privacy laws across the United States. Rather than playing catch-up with these laws, which can become a full-time job for legal and IT teams, we recommend making data protection a fundamental component of your business strategy.
For most organizations, this means applying principles like data minimization and privacy by design. By minimizing data retention, responsibly processing personal data, and proactively integrating privacy into your systems and company practices, you have a better chance of staying ahead of regulations. While you’ll still have to be careful to meet compliance with all the relevant regulations, coming to the table with a robust data protection strategy in place will go a long way.
Safeguarding your organization’s data in the digital age is a multifaceted challenge. By adopting four essential data security practices — implementing state-of-the-art encryption tools, increasing organizational awareness, keeping data private, and investing in regular monitoring — your business can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.
The ShardSecure platform also offers a way to mitigate cyberthreats. Our technology helps organizations safeguard their intellectual property, prevent unauthorized access, mitigate threats like ransomware attacks, and secure their sensitive data on-prem, in the cloud, and in hybrid- and multi-cloud architectures.
We were recently named a 2023 Gartner® Cool Vendor in Privacy, so we understand the importance of strong data privacy and protection more than anyone. To learn more about the ShardSecure platform and how it can help keep your organization safe online, visit our resources page.
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