In a digital world where everyone and their dog is online on a daily basis, there is no excuse for a company to not have a website. And a damn good one at that. Not only does your online presence have to be beautifully designed and neatly packet to offer unparalleled user experience, but in the increasingly unsafe online environment, your website and the sensitive data you keep needs to be secured tighter than a vibranium chastity belt.
Needless to say, as the global hacking community becomes increasingly skilled in their trade, breaking through company firewalls and stealing customer information, you need to strengthen your security measures in order to deter nefarious attacks and even discover them well in advance. With that in mind, here are the best ways 21st century businesses can improve their digital resilience and defend their data.
Start by classifying and organizing your data
Before you can build up your defences, you first need to get to know your data. What is it that you’re trying to protect and what kind of security measure does the data require? Only by classifying and organizing this information can you devise a feasible defence strategy. The thing that might inspire you to take data classification more seriously is the fact that 59% of data in UK IT systems is unclassified, as concluded by a survey from Veritas.
Put this into a global perspective and you can only imagine how many businesses take data classification for granted. This begs the need to go through all of your sensitive information with a fine-tooth comb and organize it according to relevance and security requirements in order to understand the possible ramifications of losing certain types of data. This will allow you to attach security directly to the information and use encryption as well as multi-factor authentication to your advantage.
Secure that data, don’t just focus on firewall technology
Once you have established the types of data you hold and have organized them accordingly within your digital storage space, you can focus on building up your firewall and securing that information. However, with malicious attacks all-too prevalent in the modern business world, relying solely on one giant firewall might not be the best idea. The fact of the matter is that some of the information you hold is more important than other, and as such should be protected accordingly.
So, while you absolutely should strengthen your firewall technology, you also want to focus on micro-segmentation, which means building numerous smaller firewalls around certain data caches according to relevance. It’s important to always have several stages the malicious attack has to go through to reach the sensitive data, and it’s also important that you frequently test your firewalls as well.
Perform regular security tests
Security tests are not an option in the increasingly hostile digital world – they are a necessity. If you want to keep your data secure at all times, you need to perform web penetration testing on a regular basis in order to discover any weak links in your security system and strengthen them immediately. A penetration test will allow your security team to make a deliberate attack on your firewall in order to identify possible entry points and then build upon the current security design.
This should be done by experienced experts though, as not everyone will be able to spot the subtle nuances that could give away a crucial piece of information to an online intruder. Remember, your firewall is only as good as your own attempts to break it down, so be sure to make regular penetration testing your no.1 priority.
Be wary of the Trojan horse
Often times, the real danger could be lurking from within your own company. Yes, the call could be coming from inside the house, and if you want to avoid data leaks by renegade staff members, you need to tighten up your internal security measures. This not only means mercilessly scrutinizing everyone who comes in contact with sensitive information, but it also means educating your staff about cybersecurity.
The modern-day hacker is becoming increasingly skilled in the art of deception, able to trick your employees with a single well-crafted email into giving away relevant data without ever knowing they were played the fool. An employee who is not educated on strict security protocols is likely to think the email came from the higher ups, and unknowingly share the data you worked so hard to protect.
Stay vigilant and never settle
Lastly, there is no excuse for staying passive in an ever-fluctuating online world. You need to move with the times, follow the trends, and stay on top of the latest developments behind enemy lines. Your CSO (chief security officer) not only needs to remain vigilant at all times and stay in the know, but they also need to implement new security measures and improve upon existing ones as soon as a shift in the cybersecurity arena becomes known to the public. Only by moving forward can you keep up with the skillful hackers of tomorrow.
Data security is no joke in an increasingly hostile digital environment. No matter the industry or the niche, there is a need to improve your digital resilience and ensure that your clients’ information is safely stored behind your firewall. Only then can your brand gain the trust and recognition it deserves.