Organizations Must Plan for the Worst, Foresee Data Security Threats to Protect Your Company

Organizations Must Plan for the Worst, Foresee Data Security Threats to Protect Your Company

Data records are becoming more and more expensive to secure in an environment that is increasingly complex. This has led organizations to invest in data security solutions that can properly protect it. One of the most important considerations in this regard is your organization’s budget. This article will provide you with some practical tips on how to get started with cybersecurity and protecting your company data from cyberattacks or other unauthorized access attempts.

Cyber security is emerging as a multibillion-dollar industry in which new technologies and markets are driving growth. Governments have also taken an interest, with more than 40 countries set to spend billions of dollars on platforms to exchange information.

Many companies have been hit by data breaches that have caused financial, legal, or reputational harm. Despite the importance of keeping data safe, it is easy to become lax in following through with security and vigilance. Even if you take every precaution to be responsible and secure your organization from threats, trust can easily be broken and your data exposed.

Accountability to ensure the sustainability of enterprise security

Accountability means being liable for your actions. When you hold people accountable, you keep them responsible for their actions. An example of accountability in an enterprise context would have a process in place for people to report data loss incidents within the organization and follow through with an investigation.

Data security policies usually focus on preventing unintentional exposure of data through technical controls, but accountability measures ensure that people are held accountable even after an incident happens.

Implementing accountability measures for data loss incidents can ensure sustainable enterprise data security.

Examples of accountability measures could include:

  • Putting processes in place to identify and deal with data loss incidents (e.g., data breach notification)
  • Implement role-based training to train people on their responsibilities when it comes to protecting sensitive information.
  • Having a system that tracks and reports on instances where sensitive information is exposed or lost.
  • A business continuity management plan that ensures the availability of critical business functions after a disaster has occurred.
  • Disaster Recovery strategy that addresses how to restore or recover data after a disaster has occurred.
  • A crisis Management plan involves communicating with customers, stakeholders, and other parties affected by the incident.
  • Risk Assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in the organization and put controls in place to reduce them.
  • Running periodic security audits to ensure that security policies and controls are being followed.

Each of these elements contributes to the overall sustainability of enterprise data security.

Effective internal control for data loss prevention

Internal controls are policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that proper management of information is being performed to prevent unauthorized access, destruction, or alterations. Other terms used for this include information security controls or security management controls. Effective internal controls help build the foundation of good security by ensuring that a company’s information system has not been compromised.

External threats could be from hackers, malware, or external theft of data. Internal threats may arise from intentional or unintentional actions of people within the organization.

In general, there are three types of controls:

  1. Administrative Controls
  2. Technical Controls
  3. Operational Controls.

The three basic components of controls include:

  • Delegation of authority (to ensure that the right controls are put in place)
  • Control Objectives (define what you want to achieve through security controls)
  • Control Activities (beginning with identifying the need for precise control, to implementing and monitoring it.

External threats to your information security

An external threat could be out of your control. A good example of an external threat in the security context would be bringing in an outsider to manage the data system. This can come from either a sales or marketing manager or a general manager or even a CEO who doesn’t know much about security or even IT. Another example would be if a business partner drops its support or stops paying for it because their business is not as strong as you thought.

Internal threats to your information security

A manager who tells his subordinates that they are allowed to take files home so that they can work on them at their convenience is a good example of a manager or even a business partner intentionally threatening the security of an organization’s data without you knowing about it. This is a clear threat to your operations and possibly even sources of information. Another example would be an IT staff member who puts malware in your business email system or the one built in-house when there’s no need for this.

These examples are explicit threats to your data security, but what happens if there’s a genuine mistake in the way you store sensitive data? For example, a sales manager tells a person to print out data from the company’s mainframe and put it in an envelope. However, the person puts it on the sales floor with sensitive information on it. This is a threat since it could happen again and again. This is the same thing as data loss prevention.

A good example of a technical threat to your information security would be if an employee accidentally deletes documents with sensitive information on them on their laptop, eliminating all sensitive data traces.

Adding a threat to your internal controls

To establish effective internal controls, threats must be added to the areas where they were not previously. For example, if you had papers with sensitive information in a filing cabinet that was not locked when it was being accessed, that would be an area where threats were present before but there were no control measures. Therefore, your control objective would be to lock on the filing cabinet to prevent access to it if anyone was going to leave it locked.

Another example would be if you did not have any way of knowing whether or not people were able to print out data from your devices or computers. In this case, the checkpoint could be to have a training program that explains how to handle data, especially when it comes to how to interact with the printers. The control activity would be putting in place an audit process or alarm so that you could identify if someone tried to take data without recording it.

Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention (DLP) refers to a system that filters and monitors the information flow through the organization’s strategy. It is concerned with all methods of information leakage, including the theft and distribution of intellectual property.

DLP is classified as a subset of information security. It refers to the protection of sensitive data stored or transmitted in an organization’s systems. This protects them against unintentional disclosure, alteration and destruction from internal (usually accidental) or external sources.

Organizations typically use DLP for the following purposes:

  • Identifying and blocking sensitive information.
  • Data leakage prevention.
  • Regulatory compliance.

DLP solutions are designed to detect and, in some cases, stop a wide range of potential leaks. These may be internal or external threats, intentional or accidental, malicious or innocent in nature.

Service Level Agreements

A service level agreement (SLA) is a set of standards that define, in measurable terms, what the organization expects from a supplier of information services (e.g., cloud computing). The SLA is included in contracts between organizations and suppliers. It includes key things like response time for requests to be fulfilled or expected levels of security and performance.

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract in which the level of service that a provider offers to its customer is laid out in detail in terms of availability, response time, and other variables.

In its simplest form, an SLA may be simply stated as:

“At all times, the service will be available for use and perform according to the following performance criteria”.

Although SLAs capture business concepts, the focus is typically on the availability and performance of resources. The objective of an SLA is to improve customer satisfaction by providing an objective measure to enable dispute arbitration or other resolution. A provider may also use a service level agreement (or similar) as part of its business strategy to provide customers with assurances that it can meet their expectations.

The job of the SLA administrator includes:

  • Providing access to the data store for customers or brokers.
  • Logging and monitoring access to the data store.
  • Make sure that the system is functioning properly, often using a dashboard.
  • Maintaining up-to-date information about all of the systems that are part of the SLA.

The job of the administrator may include:

  • Maintaining notices for customers and brokers regarding system downtimes, delays or other problems.
  • Helping customers with a need for parts or labor that is not part of the service provided by the SLA administrator.
  • Helping customers with questions and problems with SLA administration.
  • Keeping the right contacts and partners to help the consumers of service and assist them when they have issues or concerns related to the SLA.

Final Thought

Unfortunately, there are many threats that organizations face today. In the past, there were only a few types of threats. However, today they fall under an inclusive category of threats called cybersecurity. There are many different kinds of attacks that an organization can face, and it is important to have a good plan in place to deal with them all before they become serious threats.

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