How To Protect Your Company Data From Internal And External Threats

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In this modern-day and age, companies take advantage of the benefits of the internet and the digital world. However, in doing so, there is a certain level of risk that the sensitive information they capture and store in digital channels or transmit in-network pipelines may be compromised. This can lead to significant business losses and in some cases even business shutdowns. 

This is the reason why companies exert an extra effort to implement cyber security measures to protect and ensure the safety of their data from those with malicious intentions. Some enlist the services of cyber security companies who are dedicated to this task of protecting sensitive business information. They are the ones equipped with the expertise to combat various threats such as malware and viruses among others. Aside from this, below are some of the ways on how companies further protect their data from both internal and external threats.

Internal Threats

Shadow IT

Internal threats are the risks to your data that transpires as people in the organization access them. Shadow IT is one example of an internal threat that involves the use of an unauthorized third party software that proves to be difficult to trace. It can be that these applications are used by the employees to lighten their workload, without being aware of its dangers to the data of the company. More often than not, unauthorized third party software imposes a weak data security implementation which can lead to a data breach.

To effectively protect your company data from shadow IT, make sure that your employees are equipped with the right software to perform their tasks. In this case, the company needs to open the lines of communication with their employees to gain an insight into their technological needs and provide for these needs appropriately.

Unauthorized Devices

Another example of an internal threat is the use of unauthorized devices such as dongles or external hard drives. These portable devices provide convenience for employees to access or transfer company data from one computer to another. However, these devices also make it easy for the employees to lose data, or worse, get the data into the wrong hands.

To mitigate the use of unauthorized portable devices, the company can block all peripheral ports of the laptops or computers issued to its employees. In case this is not feasible, the company can encrypt all the files stored in the allowed portable devices. Additionally, the company may also control the personnel allowed to carry and use these types of devices as an enhanced data security protocol.

Internal Data Threat Protection

A tightened network security can offer a certain level of data protection against internal threats. Limiting the privileges of the users to have access only to the necessary information required for their job roles can also contribute to the mitigation of data loss or data breach. Nevertheless, the key is in training the employees about digital hygiene and data security. With everybody in the organization having the proper knowledge and awareness, a common goal in protecting the sensitive information of the company can be reached.

External Threats

Malware Attacks

External threats are the dangers to your data that occur when an outsider attempts to get access to them and use these data to their advantage or intentionally destroy these data. More often than not, malware or a malicious software attack is only detected after it has already infected the computer and corrupted the data. Malware can come in the form of downloadable software or as an email attachment.

In this case, content and email filters are the best tools that can be used to protect the company data against these attacks. It will also help to always keep the anti-virus software of the company computers updated. But then again, the key is in educating the employees of an organization against these attacks and how to recognize them.

Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS)

A DdoS attack not only compromises data security but it can also significantly affect the business processes of a company. This external threat is an attack that disrupts the normal traffic of the network bringing forth server downtime. It can be an attack on the application layer of a system or to its protocol.

To effectively circumvent a DdoS attack, the right router and monitoring service are essential. The monitoring service will effectively track and analyze the traffic patterns in order to identify an attack on the network. When this attack is determined, incoming traffic needs to be properly rerouted to another channel.

Phishing and Social Engineering

There are instances wherein hackers resort to phishing or social engineering to open up the vulnerabilities of a certain organization and execute their damaging schemes. Social engineering uses human interaction to manipulate the employees of the company to divulge confidential data while phishing often involves the use of emails or web pages to lure these individuals to provide sensitive information, posing as a legitimate institution.

A company can be stringent to phishing and social engineering by strengthening their security software and implementing multi-factor authentication. This entails the need for the company to continually update their security software, secure their browsers, and change passwords from time to time. But the most important thing is by training the employees of the organization to effectively recognize these scams and escalate these issues promptly to the rightful department. In this case, mock drills for phishing or social engineering attacks can also be held.

In protecting the data of your company, you need to first identify where your sensitive information resides to be able to put the proper measures to protect it. Ensure that you will have the ability to track who can and has access to this data. This entails the need for you to set access policies or compliance controls as necessary. As much as possible, leverage automation techniques when it comes to access requests to be able to delegate authority sensibly. Finally, make sure that everyone in the organization has ample knowledge of data protection.

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