A security check a day (or more) keeps hackers at bay

Few people are fully aware of security issues that may be lurking in their data. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any company that stores data has a data security problem.

In 2016 alone, more than 500 million people had their data hacked, including the recent Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace breaches, which affected many end users. In a recent piece for TechRadar, Columnist Christian de Looper discusses how exactly hackers obtain information and what companies can do to protect data against threats. The number of total cyberattacks increases year after year, and with tactics ranging from phishing emails to password leaks, there are ample opportunities available to hackers in today’s IT space.

In this climate, companies need to prepare for attacks to preserve security. As de Looper writes, “Keeping a realistic mindset is an important part of ensuring you don’t get hacked. The safest thing to do is to assume that you will be hacked, because chances are, you will.” 

If you’re an IT or security pro, ask yourself: If hackers breached our system tomorrow, what could they access and steal? Below are three tips for preparing a line of defense:

Guard your system against common threats, such as malware, phishing scams and weak passwords. 

One painful thing about data exposure is that it’s not like the movies. Intruders aren’t always spending hours in a dark room, painstakingly cracking code – in many cases, a malicious user needs only to write a program that breaches a company’s system on its own. By educating teams throughout an organization about common security threats and best practices for managing them, such as using complex passwords, avoiding phishing scams and recognizing the presence of malware, companies can help every employee contribute to mitigating risks.

Be aware of insider threats.

According to a recent Ponemon Institute report, 56 percent of data breaches are caused by careless employees. Many organizations focus on curbing incidents caused by external attackers, but 72 percent of organizations lack confidence in their abilities to manage employee access to sensitive files. Data monitoring solutions can put a lid on such threats and put control back in the hands of the gatekeepers who own the confidential data.

Don’t migrate to the cloud without understanding what lives in your data.

Until you have an idea of what kind of sensitive information is embedded in your data, you run the risk of hackers accessing those details. If a company moves files to the cloud without fully auditing their contents, the action could set the stage for data theft down the line. Deleting cloud-based information can be a complicated process, and sensitive data may continue to live in the cloud and extend security risks. Stay up to date about where your data is stored, which compliance regulations it’s adhering to and whether its contents will expire.

There’s no such thing as invincibility in the world of data security. As de Looper reiterates, “even the most security-aware can fall victim to a hacker.” However, by taking a holistic approach to security, monitoring user access patterns and keeping a tight lid on sensitive data, companies can prepare to face data exposure threats and come out on top.

If you’ve been hacked, don’t panic – consider three ways to learn from it.

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David Siles

David is Chief Technology Officer for DataGravity. Prior to becoming CTO, David served as vice president of worldwide field operations at DataGravity. Previously, he was a member of the senior leadership team at Veeam Software. He also served as CTO and VP of professional services for systems integrator Hipskind TSG. A graduate of DeVry University, he is a frequent speaker at top tier technology shows and a recognized expert in virtualization.