Keeping Your Business Data Secure In An Insecure World

Keeping Your Business Data Secure In An Insecure World

Keeping Your Business Data Secure

If you’re a small or medium-sized business (SMB), you might be hoping keeping your head down and staying off the Cloud will keep your data safe from interlopers — hackers and government agencies alike. Yet Verizon Communications’ 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report found 72 percent of data breaches occurred in companies with fewer than 100 employees. As long as your business is above board, malware and phishers might be a bigger concern for you than the National Security Agency. Still, the privacy of your data is related to two C words: choice and control.

Choice

Depending on the needs of your business, public or private Cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid model might work best for you. Setting up a server room might be cost-prohibitive for a small business, while a healthcare company might have concerns about keeping their data security HIPAA-compliant. (Trends suggest many companies see the Cloud in their future. A 2012 survey from Vanson Bourne found 38 percent of businesses have already adapted Cloud computing, while another 29 percent have plans to do so.)

secure-device

When choosing between Cloud, on-premises, and hybrid options, it’s important to keep the data security pyramid in mind. At the bottom, or least secure, would be running everything from your non-password-protected mobile device, while a tier-one cloud provider or on-premises severs could be at the top, or most secure. But simply because a public Cloud might be a few layers up from the base, it doesn’t mean you and the vendor can’t work together to encrypt and protect your data.

Control

Regardless of where your business decides to keep its data, it’s essential to opt for technology that lets you keep a measure of control. If you’re putting information on the Cloud, do you know where it’s physically stored? Can you pull it off whenever you want? Will you be holding the encryption keys to your data, or will they live in the provider’s Cloud? You’ll want to address these issues with your vendor. The Cloud is everywhere. You’re already in the Cloud.

Even if you’re not on the Cloud, strictly speaking, it doesn’t mean your data isn’t. Your own employees may be storing sensitive files in Dropbox or emailing them to their Google e-mail address so they can work from home. Perhaps their company e-mail is synced to their personal mobile devices. A recent poll from McAfee showed 45 percent of SMBs don’t secure data on employees’ personal devices.

It’s easy to feel insecure when some of the biggest companies in the world find themselves vulnerable to snooping. After a recent breach by the NSA, Google’s working to encrypt the traffic between its data centers. But the revelation serves as an important reminder to review or update your own security policies — and remind your employees why they’re so important. A survey from data security firm SafeNet, Inc. found that 59 percent of respondents would be unsurprised if their boss was violating company policy by using a file-sharing service such as Dropbox. Instead of shunning these convenient tools, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) or Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) need to take a more realistic approach to protecting data by making sure these Cloud-based apps are used securely.

Ok, now what? Unless you’re planning on unplugging the router and going entirely on paper, it’s imperative to protect your data wherever it lives. The Cloud Security Alliance’s best practices is a useful guide. Its recommendations include evaluating which assets you feel comfortable transferring to the Cloud, identifying threats and how they would impact your business, and developing risk treatment plans.

But perhaps the best place to start is a refresher course for employees. Forrester research shows 36 percent of security breaches are caused by employees’ inadvertent misuse of data. Last year, businesses lost $1.5 billion in phishing attacks, according to a report by EMC Corp. Employees at all levels — online-rsa-fraud-report-012013 — are tricked into opening e-mails that appear to be from a colleague. From there, the recipient is asked to reset a password, click a harmful link, or even wire $100,000 into an account. Falling for such a scam can happen to just about anyone. (Just ask Coca-Cola exec Paul Etchells.)

Finally, in line with the desire for control and choice, make sure to grill your cloud software provider with questions like these.

You should have the power to control where your information ends up and choose who has access to it. The threat of spies or hackers shouldn’t send you screaming for the WiFi-less hills, but hopefully it will inspire you to tighten your security belt, no matter where it lies.

stijn-hendrikse

By Stijn Hendrikse

Sijin is the Chief Marketing Officer at Acumatica. He has over 20 years of experience in the software business.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…