The Top 5 Security Threats To Your Data

Data is the lifeblood of your organization. Modern businesses rely on data for almost every daily operation – and today, it’s estimated that data is the single most valuable asset in the world.

Because of this, it’s absolutely essential to protect your company from common security threats. There are always those who wish to get their hands on your data – whether they’re looking to extort you with ransomware like WannaCry or CryptoLocker, or simply seeking to steal the identity of your customers or clients.

Data breaches are extremely expensive, with an average cost of around $158 for each record that is compromised, according to IBM. So in this article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 security threats to your data, so that you can protect yourself from these costly data breaches.

  1. Web Application Attacks

Web application attacks remain one of the most common methods of gaining illegitimate access to company data. With attacks like SQL injections, and cross-site scripting commonplace among dozens of different web applications, this is the most common way that a hacker can gain access to your data. It’s estimated that around 35% of all data breaches are caused by web attacks.

98% of all web applications have, or have had, data vulnerabilities, according to security report issued by Trustwave Global. To combat web application attacks, it’s critical to always keep your web application updated and maintained. This means regularly updating your corporate CMS and websites, and updating third-party plugins like Flash, JavaScript, and others.

  1. Brute-Force Authentication Attacks

If your employees are not using safe, secure login passwords or dual-factor authentication, your data could be at risk. Brute-force authentication attacks use password-cracking tools to guess common or unsecure passwords – and these passwords, when used with an employee login, can grant a hacker, access to your data.

IT consulting in Houston can confirm that there are two-factor authentication is the best way to combat this. With two-factor authentication, a hacker cannot access your data unless they have physical possession of a second authentication token – a phone that receives an SMS when a new login is made, for example.

Users should also be encouraged to create strong passwords that don’t use common words, and employ special characters and symbols. Passwords should also be changed regularly, in order to combat and avoid brute-force attacks. Essentially, passwords should be long, random and unique.

  1. Internal Data Breaches

Internal data breaches – both accidental and purposeful – remain a high security threat to data. Employees who are unfamiliar with a new system may accidentally duplicate a dataset and save it to a flash drive, and then leave that flash drive in a public place – with potentially disastrous results.

To avoid these data breaches, employees should be taught best practices for using mission-critical data systems, and their compliance should be regularly examined by your IT staff.

  1. Unsecured Mobile Devices

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies are very common at modern companies. But unless you use a comprehensive mobile device administration suite to secure mobile devices, you’re putting your data at risk.

This is especially true with modern cloud-based infrastructure. Employees are often able to access proprietary corporate data directly from their phones. If a phone is lost or stolen, this represents a serious security risk.

Because of this, it’s critical to employ a third-party software that allows for mobile devices to be locked down and remotely erased, and that ensures proper security guidelines are adhered to by employees.

  1. Third-Party Vendors

As cloud computing becomes more common – especially among small-to-midsized businesses – companies are using the services of more third-party cloud computing vendors. Unless care is taken when selecting a cloud computing vendor, your cloud-hosted data could be at risk.

In a recent example of this, NICE Systems, a Verizon cloud computing partner, accidentally exposed the personal information of thousands of Verizon customers, by creating an unsecured Amazon AWS repository.

So choose your third-party vendors carefully, and ensure that your SLAs have provisions regarding data security, and what will happen in the case of data loss due to error or negligence on the part of the service provider.

Protect Your Data – Understand These Threats!

In today’s data-driven world, you can’t be too careful when protecting yourself from IT security breaches.

So take a look at these common causes of data vulnerability, and consider hiring an IT consulting team to audit your current level of security. Doing so is the best way to prevent a potentially devastating data loss – and ensure that your valuable data is safe, secure, and protected from common threats.