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Big Data Management: Protecting Customers' Data from Global Threats

28th Aug 2016
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Protecting your profits is crucial, but the aim of hackers is to separate you from your profits and your customer’s data. As you transmit information to companies and individuals, there may be the involvement of unscrupulous third parties whose goal is to steal that information.

It could include customer records, payment information or something even more sensitive, such as trade secrets and home addresses. In regards to profiting, trust is a key factor in retaining business. You absolutely must employ protective administrative processes, cyber security, and hardware modifications to ensure your sensitive data can be transmitted securely in order to remain a trustworthy brand.

Protecting Your Moving Data with DLP

If your company uses any of the following, then your data is moving and it needs protecting:

  • You or your employees use flash drives, laptops, or mobile devices
  • Your company saves information to the cloud or is engaged in virtualization in some way
  • Your company uses a messaging program to communicate
  • Your company uses SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications to function or web gateways

Securing this data is essential; not securing it could damage your reputation, cause revenue loss, and may even result in regulatory fines. It takes more than simple anti-virus and anti-malware solutions; although, you’ll want to have these provisions installed too. What you really need is integrated data loss protection (DLP). DLP allows you to manage all threats across all distributed environments, including advanced persistent threats (APTs) and data breach incidents.

APTs are a real threat. A Market Research Media report stated that the federal government will spend $65.5 billion on methods to combat threats between 2015 and 2020. Although a big target, the government isn’t the only target for hackers. Health systems, state websites, and small businesses are regularly attacked too.

Lost Data isn’t Always Stolen Data

Although maliciousness waits around every corner of the web, not all lost data is stolen data. Sometimes, data is lost because of disaster or hardware malfunctioning. Although losing data won’t result in theft or massive redistribution of the data, it can still ruin your reputation and cost you money. It can set you back days, weeks, or even years.

Data loss has even occurred when people mistakenly engage with it. An employee could unintentionally delete important data. Are you prepared for the unintentional loss of data? You may have heaps of cyber security, but if you’re not prepared for unintentional data loss, you’re not truly protected.

A great example of this is when the owner of a hosting company “removed all trace of his company and the websites that he looks after for his customers.” A single piece of destructive code can burn heaps of data, including everything on your servers. “rm-rf” is the code capable of deleting everything within a directory, and it doesn’t give you a warning before following through on the command. In the blink of an eye, everything can disappear.

Poor Data Security Costs Customer Trust

Your reputation depends on earning the trust of your customers. Customers don’t brands that don’t keep their data secure, so make data protection a core part of your branding strategy. Let customers know what measures you have taken to keep their data safe.

How to Prevent Threats both Intentional and Unintentional

The importance of DLP cannot be stressed enough. DLP provides a company-wide focus on situational awareness and “the most effective way to easily and effectively deploy comprehensive data protection,” so says industry experts TrendMicro.

Beyond DLP here are a few ways you can implement security on your own:

  • Keep your software updated (especially your antivirus and antimalware software) and always install new patches. It may seem like an inconvenience, but updates and patches fix bugs and security holes.
  • Encrypt everything.
  • Regularly backup your systems and keep backups of your most important data offsite.
  • Set specific user rights, so only trusted individuals are allowed access to specific materials.
  • Educate employees on the importance of strong passwords and teach them to recognize schemes, such as phishing schemes.

Data encryption is when sensitive data is encoded before it’s stored or transmitted. If an unauthorized party attempts to access the data, he will not be able to decipher it. A strong encryption algorithm can protect your business against some of the most dangerous APTs. Overall, it’s best to leave security to the professionals, and those that offer advanced DLP offer your business more peace of mind.

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