Network Security Concern for Your Business (Part 7): Sensitive Data Exposure

IT outsourcing companiesProtecting sensitive data is vital for companies and organizations — and for good reason.

Sensitive data can include medical records, customer credit card data, employee records, company strategy documents and valuable intellectual property, which underlines why sensitive data exposure can be a complete disaster for any company.

If your company handles sensitive data, it needs to have a strong strategy in place to overcome the many risks present in an age of widespread data exposure. You might need the help of IT outsourcing companies.

Data Exposure Threats: Common and Costly

Although companies know protecting their data is of the utmost importance, many still find it difficult to do successfully. While proper encryption is one of the first steps in protecting data, even Fortune 500 companies fail to do it, evidenced by the employee who stole sensitive, unencrypted employee data on a laptop from Coca-Cola headquarters. The employee was eventually caught, but nearly 70,000 employees were put at risk.

Anthem Insurance, in another example, was the victim of Chinese hackers who stole the social security numbers of 80 million customers. Unfortunately, the social security numbers weren’t encrypted.

Employees Can Also Lead To Serious Data Exposure

A Cisco survey explored many of the facts that lead to data exposure. Their survey found that 18 percent of employees share passwords with co-workers. At the same time, 70 percent of IT professionals indicated that half of data loss incidents were tied to their employees using unauthorized programs on their network.

Outside attacks are a major problem, but data loss can stem from employees as well. These employees are not necessarily trying to damage your company, but may simply not be following best practices.

In addition to data exposure, many companies also face the threat of losing data. One survey found that 32 percent of IT admins failed to test the effectiveness of their backup systems.

These data exposure problems are especially pronounced for small firms that can face serious consequences from data loss, including bankruptcy. In fact, 72 percent of companies that suffer data exposure close within 24 months.

The Importance of Encryption

Many firms don’t have data safeguards in place, but encryption is a good place to start. For truly sensitive data, such as social security numbers, strong encryption measures like the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) need to be deployed. While the type of encryption is important, the crucial point is making sure it’s used in the right areas of your business, such as BYOD mobile devices.

Cover Data Exposure From Every Angle

Other measures such as strong authentication procedures, firewall protection and employee training are also necessary. IT firms simply can’t assume employees will protect data. Employees need to be educated about the necessity of strong passwords and certain safety precautions to take when they’re using remote access tools. It’s also important for employees to understand that installing third-party software, both on work computers and BYOD devices, can lead to viruses and malware.

As part of a proper data exposure plan, you also need to take steps to protect data even if it is exposed or destroyed. Backups can be pursued from a number of angles, but companies should consider the advantages of backing up their data offsite in the Cloud. This option protects data in the event of property damage and tends to be less expensive than adding extra data storage onsite.

Hiring IT Outsourcing Companies for Protection

Data exposure is one of the top security concerns of every company. The stakes are high, but IT outsourcing companies (Oklahoma City) provide the necessary resources and experience to reduce data exposure and protect your data in the future. Send us a message or call us at (405) 242-0171 to schedule a meeting today.