As far as threats to your business go, the one to data security is probably the worst. Calling the data the “lifeblood” of your business may be cliché but it can never be underestimated. We’ve found a few of these threats that are common from various sources. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for.
1. Network vulnerabilities
Data transfers over a network are the Achilles heel of any IT environment. This collectively exposes each system linked to that network in the event of an attack. Some preventative data security measures are:
- Ensure the web browser vulnerabilities have been patched
- When surfing the web, don’t use the Administrator user. This will limit a party’s privileges if access is hijacked
Stay on top of SSL vulnerabilities. Although trusted as a reliable method of sending data securely, glitches sometimes creep in and attackers will exploit that if not patched in time.
2. Social engineering
Now here’s a trick that really gets under your skin. This is where you are contacted by someone who pretends to be a trusted provider. By playing on this trust, they are able to have a meaningful conversation while you divulge key information about you and your practices and in so doing, let them walk in through the front door. Timothy Mullen at Computer Weekly says, “Social engineering is a people problem, not a technical problem. You can’t solve it with technical means, so don’t bother trying.” Rather educate staff about this kind of intrusion protocol to help fend off predators. (This is different from phishing. See no. 4 below.)
3. Retail and financial exploits
Another people problem to your data security happens in the case of financial document theft. This happens more than people care to realise. An unsuspecting tax-return could be dropped off at the post office, never to be heard from again, until it one day, you find out about several rogue businesses registered through your company that have been syphoning off your precious funds.
4. Identity theft
Another form of malicious deceit takes the form of bots prowling the information highways. These automated software drones seek out networks with vulnerable data security and then leach off the information to their creators. This allows them to easily become your impostor and ruin your live and livelihood.
Another method of achieving the same result is called phishing. This is where you divulge information through a site or email that poses as trustworthy. Unlike social engineering, there is no human contact and people are often trapped on seemingly familiar sites like those used for internet banking.
5. Mobile device vulnerabilities
This article wouldn’t be worth much if it didn’t make mention of the mobile devices. As we all know BYOD is on the upswing and companies need to stay ahead. The golden rule here is to treat a mobile device like a desktop computer when it comes to data security. In fact, due its travelling nature, a mobile device gets connected to a greater variety of networks exposing it to more threats than a desktop computer or even laptop. If infected, a mobile device can cross-pollenate malware as it hops from network to network. Keep them updated with patches and don’t forget a mobile anti-virus.
The greatest risk to risk management is not knowing what the risks are. It could be helpful to use a security-conscious IT strategy which is designed to make you aware of the risks and can be a fixed point of reference in the changing landscape of managing the risks to your data security.