How Can Organisations Mitigate Data Security Risks?

Every company needs to complete a yearly risk self-assessment. Given the wide and increasing range of data security attacks on companies every year, a third-party risk assessment can further help to solidify risk management measures, in addition to self-contained methods.

Organisations must constantly ask for demonstrations by departments and people responsible for data security programs. These demonstrations must include the processes involved in addressing various type of data breaches, such as protecting M&A information, high value reports, e-books, board documents and data incident response plans and others contingencies, should current controls fail to contain a breach.

No More Complacent Attitude

Obtaining the right data is vital to managing company processes every day. Moreover, as far as data security is concerned, management must realise that they can no longer depend on status reports such as, “there have been no data breaches this year, hence everything is all right”.

It is imperative that management become aware of data security programmes and their effectiveness. For instance, trend data is comprehensive, as it offers a measure of efficiency. Questions such as – was it worthwhile to invest in the last two quarters? if the investments were not rewarding, then what exactly went wrong? – These and other self-examining investigations can help in assessing the efficacy of currently established data security processes.

To check the effectiveness of your organisation’s data security and optimistically trigger off accurate exchange within the reporting structure, management must look to:

  • Build an annual ethical hacking test result to reveal the exposure of recently enforced vigilant measures or establish if the measures have been successful.
  • Create data-security training programmes and check how many employees have completed the programme.
  • Get outcomes of various simulated data breaches and responses mechanisms. A professional forensics firm can help in creating breach response procedures with documented proof.
  • Analyse responses from various vendors or partners to obtain the different levels of data risk to your company. Management must be aware on how such a risk can be addressed, starting with how risk will affect each vendor or partner.

The time to prepare is now. While it is imperative that organisations introspect on their current data security mechanisms and the data threat environment, placing effective data security methods in place for continual enhancement is vital for success this year and beyond. Some important suggestions to take into account include:

  • Look into the most effective company structure to meet data security goals.
  • Relook at or lay down board data security supervision methods, starting with an authorised official ‘risk appetite’ affirmation to which all risk dialogues will be connected.
  • Discover appropriate sources to stay informed on emerging data security concepts and trends. Seek trusted data security experts for distinct confirmation of internal recommendations while at the same time introspect and maintain self-contained facts.
  • Set down standards for success and failure and make sure they are been thoroughly examined, particularly with heuristic data. Data security investments must reveal effectiveness over a period of time.

Big data on the other hand are complicated, multilevel stacks of an organisation’s critical and classified information. Implementing big data especially when deployments are in the process of storage or transfer can become a risky asset. The challenge for every organisation is to ensure that access to big data is secured while still providing easy access to authorised end-users to extract important business insights from that data. Let’s consider three big data security risks and easy ways of mitigating them.

  • Unauthorised users. Unprotected access to big data puts classified and important information at risk of loss and larceny. Every organisation’s IT department must have concentrated control over who can gain access to big data, how and when. Only those users that have a need to distil critical information from the data must have access to it. Standardised least privilege access must be given to users who only need the data to perform their jobs.
  • Escalate privilege access. Some insider threats can occur due to the increase of over privileged accounts, and in this case, big data is no different. For instance, administrators need not have complete access to big data and their clusters; instead, least-privilege access must be given to administrators that should be limited to defined actions and commands needed to do the job. This would mean implementing a more limited set of access and privilege rights.
  • Eliminate lack of visibility. One of the biggest challenges for IT organisations is the lack of visibility into what is happening within big data. It is important to log sessions in order to recognise, mitigate and amend possible security concerns.

As companies are increasingly engaging in an online world, effective document security procedures with built in measures such as password protection, encryption, PDF security management and document digital rights should and must be enforced. However, companies should also be concerned with securely sharing data with third parties outside their organisation, in addition to within the organisation.