Busting the Myths of Data Security

In this modern era of technology, the security of data is often taken for granted. This is because myths have been built up, perpetuating a false reality of data security, and undermining an organisation’s capability to secure data resulting in increased risks of data breaches, through malicious attacks. As you read this post, I sincerely hope, you learn more about the importance of securing data.

I have includes some examples of data security myths below, and you can find more here.

These examples are:

  1. An organisation believes they are not a target.
  2. Data security is the sole responsibility of the IT department.
  3. This product or tool (e.g. firewall & anti-virus) can protect you 100%.

The reason that I am writing about this, is because last month I attended an event on this subject in Liverpool. Organised by Gardner Systems plc, this included three interesting speakers, with a great wealth of experience, knowledge and technical expertise in the IT industry. The speakers included Seth White from Nexthink, Liam Bridge from Varonis and Paul Stringfellow from Gardner Systems (who also writes an excellent IT blog). Having attended one of Gardner’s events last year (you can read about it here), I was once again looking forward to re-educating and reinforcing my understanding of this subject.

The purpose of the event was to debunk the myths surrounding data security in detail. In addition, the speakers also sought to highlight the need for an intelligent and proactive approach to dealing with issues. This included focusing on more detailed approaches to data security, such as controlling and removing access to prevent inside attacks, and using encryption to protect data as the cornerstone of any security policy.

I was also interested to listen and learn about targeted monitoring of IT resources, through the use of analytics. Through this, I learnt that analytics can be used to monitor infrastructure activities and behavioural patterns. Therefore analytics enable for the proactive management of potential security issues, and to identify and resolve them.

In addition, I also learned some shocking points regarding data security, which I have included below. These points are a snapshot of the modern reality of IT, and of the vulnerability of data, to potential breaches and losses.

  1. Data is more mobile as it is stored on PCs, laptops and smartphones.
  2. 80% of threats come from end users.
  3. The average costs of data breaches in the UK are £1,15m.
  4. Cyber attacks are more targeted and smarter now!
  5. IT configuration changes increases risk.
  6. Attacks and breaches can lie for months quietly undetected.
  7. 10-15% of notebooks are lost daily.
  8. Easy for internal users to get inside and steal valuable data.
  9. 23% of users open a phishing e-mail that steals sensitive information, whilst disguised as a legitimate message.
  10. 45% of organisations cannot always tell if they have suffered an internal breach.

Recalling the points above, have served to reinforce my understanding of the importance of securing data. In addition, I have also learned and understood that cyber attacks are more intelligent today. This means that intelligence is an important countermeasure, as part of a multi-layered approach to safeguarding data, along with technologies, processes, procedures and even common sense.

With recent high profile cyber attacks such as the hacking of Sony Pictures, and more recently TalkTalk, businesses are more vulnerable than ever before. As technology has transformed our lives, the most valuable asset of all businesses is data. From holding and processing it, data is so important to businesses, as they would not exist without it. If data was lost, stolen or misused, the consequences for companies include brand and reputational damage, heavy fines, prosecutions, potential millions in revenue losses and even bankruptcy!

I would like to thank all of the speakers and Gardner Systems, for this important event. Working in IT myself, I appreciate and acknowledge the speakers and everyone involved, for sharing their knowledge and expertise, which I found very educational and important.

To conclude, I hope you have found this article extremely useful, as data security is a very serious matter. There is help and assistance from IT suppliers and vendors, and I strongly insist that you work with them to help protect your data and resources. Data security must never be taken lightly, as businesses, organisations and even individuals are at more risk than ever!

Finally, I would like to leave you with these six important words that encapsulate what I have learned, and what you must learn too.

Everyone is responsible for data security!

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