Data has become a strategic asset for businesses. It’s key for businesses to be able to make their best commercial decisions. Securing that data is more critical than ever before.
Many businesses are anxious about how they handle data moving forward. Our Future Ready Report 2020 found 22% of businesses feel inadequately equipped to securely store and process data and 73% admit it’s a major challenge to harness their data effectively. Businesses are also harvesting less than a quarter of the data they store for commercial benefit.
The major changes endured by enterprises during the pandemic are likely to have significant ramifications for how they store, secure and protect data.
Where is your data?
Many enterprises had to pivot when the pandemic arrived. Thousands of employees left their offices and began working from home to support the fight against coronavirus. Companies turned to cloud-based platforms to deliver applications and services to their newly dispersed workforces.
This has big implications for company data. Previously, data was retained inside the network within a handful of secure corporate locations.
In 2020, enterprises had to switch to a model where information is accessed and shared by remote locations beyond the company perimeter.
This poses a number of questions:
Where is the data being stored?
How secure is it?
How is it being used?
Who is using it?
Where are they accessing it from?
Which version of the data accessed in different locations is the correct version? How can you be sure?
The answer to these questions lie in tools that provide increased oversight and control of widely distributed data.
Secure remote access to your data
With so many employees accessing corporate data from their home broadband networks, often using unsecured devices, there’s increased risk of a data security breach.
Most home networks don’t apply the same levels of security as corporate networks. Home devices are likely to have much weaker endpoint security – and may already be compromised.
Even if the business has supplied equipment with built-in corporate endpoint security, it won’t be secure if it’s not patched regularly. What’s more, employees may open it up to more vulnerabilities by using it for other purposes.
Enterprises with remote workers should consider the following:
Endpoint protection: Do your security solutions work across all endpoints, irrespective of the user, branch, location or device?
Authentication and identity management: Do you have authentication policies in place for your dispersed employees and devices?
Patching: Is the endpoint security on devices patched regularly?
Educate your workforce
The biggest ally a company has in protecting its corporate data are the people working for it. Employees are often the first line of defence against cyber threats. They can also be the weakest linky.
An endpoint is only as secure as the person using it – as cybercriminals are only too aware. The popularity and success of phishing attacks is a testament to the deficiencies of some companies in their employee security awareness.
Employees can be unaware of their roles and responsibilities in the company’s security strategy. If businesses devote more time and attention to training employees and making them aware of their roles in the security plan, they can strengthen their defences.
Are employees aware of your security policies for remote working?
Do they understand why they're there?
Do they know what to do if they suspect a data security breach?
With so many employees operating outside the company perimeter, the frontline in the battle to protect enterprise data has become dispersed across many remote locations. If you want to protect your data more effectively, teach your employees to protect themselves.