Tech

Crucial Data Security Best Practices for 2021

Existing and emerging cybersecurity threats this year must be treated with due consideration. Based on what we have learned of 2020’s data security and cyber-attack incidents, we must look towards best practices that every organization must have in their stockpile. Here is a list of essential data security guidelines that can help prevent cyber-attacks this year.

Dedicated insider threat role no longer an option: Across industries and company sizes, insider threats have been on the rise. Forrester claims that insider-threat data-security incidents cost organizations an average of $8.75 million per year. This is why it is imperative that preventing insider threats must be a team activity. Creating a dedicated insider threat role can assemble cross-departmental teams to swiftly discern, analyze and react to insider threats when they take place. This role can also help departments become proactive by bringing together appropriate solutions and policies to avoid insider threats from taking place.

Organize phishing simulations: A recent Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon revealed how phishing attacks are as prevalent as ever. However, on analyzing phishing simulations, it was seen that over 70% of people avoided clicking on malicious emails. This goes to show that investing in phishing simulations can help to create a safe place in testing the knowledge of the staff. A critical aspect of data security awareness training is to assist employees in recognizing how phishing attacks take place and can manifest themselves in everyday lives. Given that social engineering attacks and identity theft attempts are becoming more sophisticated, creating a phishing simulation can alert employees in avoiding malicious emails.

Employee training on data security policies: As more and more employees are travelling outside their organization for work and with remote working now on the rise, employees need to understand that waiving data security for convenience is no longer acceptable. It is seen that when employees travel for work, they access their corporate networks through free public Wi-Fi systems that are generally unsecured. A minuscule percentile of employees use a VPN when they are away from the company. If the staff is unaware of data security policies during travel or remote working, it could be time for a set of guidelines to be established if they are not already in place.

Emphasizing on employee privacy: A swift glance at news headlines from 2020 reveals how data privacy awareness and sensitivity is critical. With data privacy laws and GDPR becoming the norm, prioritizing the privacy of your employees is essential. For instance, data collected from employees must be anonymized in an insider threat prevention capacity. This should then be communicated clearly to them on how data security policies will impact their privacy in every way.

Implementing a data security awareness-training module: According to SANS, two out of three insider threat incidents are due to mistakes conducted by internal staff or third-party vendors. And, interestingly these mistakes are preventable. This is why it is essential to invest in data-security awareness training programs. The SANS report further revealed that over 80% of employees reported that their work had a positive impact on the protection of their organization after data security awareness sessions. Consider various training programs to reinforce your data security policies in the day-to-day work of your staff.

Enforce data security policy to third-party contractors as well: A recent NPR/Marist report revealed that freelance workers and independent consultants hold one in five jobs today. This trend is only going to rise in the coming months and years. Most companies reap the advantages of third-party contractual services, but very few inform these independent consultants about their data security policies and best practices that could impact their daily workflows.

Relook into privileged access: Most organizations don’t look into how many users in their company have access to classified data, confidential documents, and sensitive areas of their servers and information. It is vital to look into every individual’s level of access and understand if it is really needed. Over time, privileged access tends to creep up on companies, and when specific individuals leave their organizations, move into different departments, roles change their names or no longer work on areas concerning their credentials, it can be a hazard to data security. This is where it is beneficial to implement digital rights management (DRM) to protect documents and data from unauthorized access and misuse. PDF DRM for example, controls the distribution of PDF documents, and through it, you can also control what authorized users can do with documents they are allowed to access (i.e. prevent printing, stop screenshots, enforce expiry, etc.) and even revoke access after the document or PDF file is shared. In the absence of digital rights management, any individual whohas been given permission to access intellectual-property or sensitive information, can do what they like with it.  This is why document DRM is the only solution that can truly limit data security attacks.

And while organizations adopt best practices to help their employees reduce unnecessary risk in 2021, implementing a robust document security solution such as digital rights management can reinforce their security policies and avoid data mishaps.

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