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What is the Biggest Cybersecurity or Data Threat?
If you’ve tuned into or read the news lately, you’ve probably seen a story about a data breach or a hacker gaining access to sensitive data. For companies that use sensitive data, cyber attacks should be a huge concern for your team, and something you’re actively striving to prevent.
Here are four of the biggest cybersecurity threats your company might be up against, and find out what steps you can take to prevent these types of data breaches in the future.
Shockingly the biggest cybersecurity threats often come from within. Your employees can be an open door for data compromise (whether it’s intentional or unintentional). Let’s look at a few ways your employees could be putting your data at risk.
First, they could be failing to align with best practices. There are three areas in particular you should look at:
- Device Security – Some employees may simply be too careless with their devices. Maybe they leave their mobile devices unlocked on their desk, or their computer briefly unattended at a coffee shop if they’re working remote. Regardless of how long a device is unattended or how safe of an environment you believe you’re in, a lack of device protections often lead to data compromises.
- Password Security – Do you have a stringent password security policy? And, are you actively enforcing it? Passwords should be complex and difficult to crack. Employees with simplistic passwords are often the gateway for hackers to infiltrate your systems. Here are a few guidelines employees should follow:
- Passwords should be changed frequently, every 30, 60, or 90 days.
- They should have upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Employees should never reuse passwords for other logins.
- File Sharing Processes – If your employees regularly share files back and forth via email, your data is definitely at risk. When employees fail to align with secure file sharing best practices, they’re opening up your solutions to hackers. Files should only be shared via securing sharing solutions.
Next, your employees could simply have nefarious motivations of their own. Maybe they’ve been fired and want to do some damage on their way out the door. Or, perhaps they’re stealing and selling sensitive data for their own financial gain.
The best way to protect your data from threats within your company is with granular access controls. Top file sharing solutions allow you to limit who can access, upload, download, delete, and edit specific files. With this capability, you can prevent your most sensitive data from being compromised by employees. Not everyone in your company needs the same level of access to all files. Access controls allow your administrators to enforce your security standards.
No Enterprise is Safe from Today’s Data Threats
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Nation-state sponsored hackers are generally the best in the business – and one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. They’ve been trained by their government and have all the resources at their disposal to access data from any sources.
So, what are the motivations behind these state-sponsored hacks? They could want commercial providers to turn over data as part of legal proceedings or in the interest of national security. They could be conducting an act of cyber warfare against your home country. Regardless of the reason, it could still put your business at risk, especially if you’re subject to compliance regulations.
ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), for example, stipulates that data that falls under this regulation cannot be shared with foreign entities. If your data is accessed by a foreign country, you're now in violation of the ITAR.
The best way to protect your data from the threat of international entities is by choosing a file sharing provider that operates completely within the United States. You also need strong encryption and intruder detection measures. While these hackers may be well trained, the best file sharing solutions can keep their attempts to break in at bay.
When you think of hackers, you’re probably thinking of criminals who steal data for financial gain. These are your run-of-the-mill hackers and the ones you hear about a lot in the news. Typically, these hackers steal data often to sell on the dark web to the highest bidder. And, when companies are dealing with sensitive data like social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and more, it’s easy to understand how valuable this data could be to a criminal.
Hackers, one of the biggest cybersecurity threats, have a long list of ways they can infiltrate companies’ data storage solutions. Here are a few to watch out for:
- Ransomware – With ransomware attacks, a hacker will gain access to your system, lock out users, and hold the data hostage until a ransom is paid. To minimize the risk of ransomware, you need to frequently backup your data, so it can be restored in spite of the hacker’s efforts.
- Man-in-the-Middle – Man-in-the-middle attacks prey on individuals using public Wi-Fi networks. Hackers create false sites that seem to be legitimate internet login sites. Instead, they gain access to your data and systems. The best way to prevent a man-in-the-middle attack is to restrict employee internet usage to secure, private networks.
- Brute Force – Brute force attacks target employee passwords. Hackers use a trial-and-error approach to guess passwords, typically for cloud-based solutions. This is accomplished by running through a large quantity of consecutive number and letter combinations until they detect the correct password. Multi-factor authentication and stringent password policies minimize the risk of brute force attacks.
- Phishing – Phishing attacks are a threat both from a criminal and an employee standpoint. These attacks use emails that seem legitimate to lure recipients into opening the email or clicking on a link. The hacker then gains access to that user’s accounts. So, if employees are sharing secure files via email, the could definitely be at risk. The best way to avoid this attack is by educating your employees to only open emails from trusted senders, and to only share files via a secure file sharing solution.
Not all data attacks are enacted over the internet. Physical theft should be as big of a concern as attacks over the web. Beware of theft when it comes to both your devices and your servers.
- Devices – Devices like laptops, phones, or tablets can hold great value for criminals. And that value isn’t limited to the hardware alone. If your phone is always logged into your work email, a thief now has access to that account. And, with the increase in BYOD (bring your own device) policies at work, employees are using their personal devices to log into work accounts on a regular basis.
The best way to prevent device theft is to never leave your devices unattended. And in the event a device is stolen, your company should informed immediately so the employee’s accounts can be remotely disabled.
- Servers – You should also be concerned about the security surrounding the servers where your data is stored. If you’re using a cloud-based file sharing solution, your provider needs to have adequate physical security at their server storage locations to prevent a break in or theft. They should also be transparent with you about where the servers are. Many file storage options have dozens of servers all over the world, so you’re never totally where your data is located.
Ultimately, the best way to keep your data secure is by having the right files sharing solution. While you should also focus on actions like training and establishing best practices, a top secure FTP solution can prevent hackers from getting in. You won’t have to worry these four biggest cybersecurity threats, because you know a team of experts is on your side.
Do you want to improve your current data security policy or create a new one? This Data Security Policy Template will help you get the process started.
About Martin Horan
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.