One of the byproducts of doing business in the information age is sensitive information. Managing companies means collecting and storing data that may have value to thieves and bad actors. In 2019, the average total cost of a data breach was 3.86 million U.S. dollars.[i] Now that many employees are moving their computing to the edge, security concerns are evolving. Standard security advice still applies. Establish healthy passwords behavior, ensure timely application of patches and updates, use firewalls, etc. Now is the time to take a new look at your security practices and make sure they are updated for the current climate. Here are 5 steps for improving security in the pandemic.
1. Make Security a Priority
The rapid developments of 2020 have been understandably taxing for businesses. Many companies have spent most of their efforts on maintaining business continuity. This has resulted in increasing points of vulnerability taking a backseat. , leaving open to increased risk. Most data leaks come from human error as a result of weak security policies.[ii] Make sure you are taking the time to make security a top priority and demonstrate a security first environment in your company. Update device and account security policies to reflect the realities of work-from-home employees.
2. Rethink Network Security
Remote workplaces are likely to be around for a while. This means company networks are no longer location specific and can not be effectively maintained with a perimeter approach to security. Instead, rethink your IT practices to configure and support the array of home networks and devices that are now a part of your environment. Look into cloud and SaaS solutions that are supportive of decentralized workloads. These technologies can help compartmentalize and scale operational workloads and have robust security tools and support teams to help your company optimize its data management for security.
3. Maximize Encryption
Encryption practices should also be updated for decentralized networks. With increasing remote communication, data sent in emails or uploaded to the cloud can be an increasing vulnerability. Many companies encrypt stored data and database backups, but it is important to ensure that data in transit is encrypted as well. This technology encodes data before transmission and authenticates both endpoints to protect data while it travels between networks.
4. Create an Incident Response Plan
Prepare for a possible breach by creating an incident response plan. This should include a designated response team (or teams) that can act quickly to investigate and mitigate the breach. Studies show that creating an incident response team can significantly minimize the cost of a data breach, reducing monetary loss by nearly 273,000 U.S. dollars.[iii] Designate key players in your incident response team and ensure they understand their designated response actions. This will ensure they can efficiently pause in order to repair breaches, mitigate damage, investigate and document cause, and manage customer relations.
5. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor!
Breaches do happen, therefore early detection is crucial to minimizing the costs incurred as a result. Be sure you are monitoring logins, user activity, system alerts, logs, etc. Monitoring software with AI and machine learning can help analyze user behavior and identify anomalies before they become problems.
These are just a few steps to take to help your security protocols in the new year. Above all, make sure to think ahead, have a plan, and bring in some help. Outside eyes can help identify vulnerable points you might have missed and can bring additional expertise to the table. Bring in enough players to stack the deck in your favor and make sure they are all working together. Your in-house IT staff, your vendor support teams, and third-party database management teams should all be on the same page and working toward your end goals.
Dobler Consulting LLC is a leading provider of database services, premier software development, and information technology support, servicing clients ranging from small businesses to FORTUNE companies across multiple industry verticals. For more information about updating your database and network security, visit DoblerConsulting.com or call us at +1 (813) 322-3240 (US) /+1 (416) 646-0651 (Canada).
[i] Johnson, Joseph, Statista, “Average total cost per data breach worldwide 2014-2020,” Jan 25, 2021. Accessed at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/987474/global-average-cost-data-breach/.
[ii] Johnson, Joseph, Statista, Annual number of data breaches and exposed records in the United States from 2005 to 2020,” March 3, 2021. Accessed at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/273550/data-breaches-recorded-in-the-united-states-by-number-of-breaches-and-records-exposed/
[iii] Johnson, Joseph, Statista, “Leading cyber crime damage cost mitigators and amplifiers worldwide as of 2020, by difference from average data breach cost,” Jan 25, 2021. Accessed at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/500854/worldwide-cost-it-security-incidents-by-company-size/