Because hackers are always on the lookout for unsecured data systems’ entry points, it is important for organizations to understand which of their data is sensitive, to set up policies and procedures for handling their sensitive data, and to educate employees and other users about how they can best keep it safe.

Data Vulnerabilities

There are many dangers of unsecured data systems including data breaches where hackers steal data, accidents where data is lost, and incidents where sensitive data is made public. One recent large-scale breach in the education sector was mentioned in a September 2018 FBI public service announcement

When sensitive data isn’t encrypted before sharing it over untrusted networks, there is a higher risk of a data breach. This is especially important when using the public cloud for data storage. In addition to having encryption methods, it’s crucial to know the cloud provider’s policies regarding backup, who will have access to the data, and what steps they normally take in case of a data breach.

One decision that is of utmost importance is choosing a cloud provider. If an organization hastily chooses the wrong vendor without proper vetting and without checking references, problems can eventually arise that could have been prevented. The best partner for a company is a solution provider that stores information off-site in a U.S.-based data center that is secured physically and logically from external and internal threats. The cloud vendor should have security protocols in place to make sure access to information is limited to the necessary staff who have undergone extensive background checks.

Businesses and organizations are also at risk for internal threats whether they be intentional or unintentional. It is important to use tools that proactively set up, monitor, and enforce security measures internally. It is also a good idea to limit the number of people who have access to sensitive data, if possible.

Another big risk for organizations’ data systems are their endpoints. If sufficient and inexpensive security measures aren’t in place on software at the system’s endpoints, hackers will have a much easier time accessing the data. To help keep data safe, organizations need to make sure applications on their networks are patched and updated. Preventative actions to keep vulnerability in check are crucial.

There have been several data breaches over the past few years where personal information has been compromised. One way businesses, government agencies, healthcare providers, and others who hold sensitive data can work to keep their customers’ and patients’ personal information secure is to always be assessing potential threats and access points to the sensitive data. People within the organization need to ask with regard to every decision, “How will this affect Payment Card Industry compliance and/or HIPPA compliance?”

Many data systems’ breaches aren’t caught or fixed immediately because IT departments haven’t kept up with or documented system changes sufficiently and/or haven’t audited the entire IT process on a regular basis. If better documenting and auditing procedures are implemented, organizations will be able to detect problems earlier and solve data breach problems in a timely manner.

Another data system risk for organizations is a lack of security on company-owned laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Once data leaves the premises on these devices, it can be stolen or lost, it can be used on unsecure WIFI networks, and it can be more vulnerable to accidental deletion or damage if the employee’s partner and/or children are using the device and aren’t fully aware of how to best protect sensitive data.

Information Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS) Can Help

If your organization needs assistance securing your data system, contact ITS so we can discuss how to accomplish your security goals. Our premium security solutions mitigate potential threats against your organization. Our suite of IT security solutions management for business, government, education, and beyond includes:

  •  IT risk management
  • Cybersecurity solutions
  • Compliance

Implementing ITS’ managed solutions can also solve many of your security issues and help you know your data will be secure and monitored.

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