#HowTo: Plug Data Leaks

#HowTo_ Plug Data Leaks

In 2021, data breach incidents accounted for more than $6.9bn in losses, making efficient data security a critical concern across industries. It is a known fact that data is one of the most valuable assets an organization can have, so protecting it at all costs is vital. Evidently, however, organizations are facing huge challenges when it comes to correctly managing their data and detecting and resolving external threats. In fact, our research found a 66% increase in source code leaks and a 150% increase in cloud storage data leaks in 2021 alone. 

While you can’t fully protect against every type of attack out there, it makes sense to fix the ones you know could do you harm. In this case, companies must focus on plugging the leaks before attackers can exploit them. 

The Most Common Forms of Data Leaks 

To efficiently mitigate risks, security leaders need to identify the types of leaks that can occur. Most fall into three categories: 

  1. The Oops! Exposed Database:Not every data breach is caused by sophisticated attacks carried out by skilled cyber-criminals. In fact, many leaks result from leaving the door to your database open. According to IBM reports, over 90% of all data breach incidents were caused by individual errors and lack of awareness. For example, in 2020, Microsoft misconfigured an online database exposing 250 million entries.
  2. The Third Party:Data leaks can be caused by external parties like vendors or contractors, often because they have overprivileged or unmonitored access to the organizational network. Many vendors have open access to client servers to upload and share key files, which can leave systems exposed to attackers. Last year, 51% of companies experienced a data breach caused by a third party. 
  3. The Forgotten Ones:When companies deal with multiple types and sources of data, they often fail to maintain an accurate inventory of all databases. Forgotten databases are often left unchecked by security teams, allowing criminals to steal sensitive data. This also happens when companies switch from one database to another but forget to erase the previous iteration. 

Data leaks can be a combination of several categories, but companies can start preventing such incidents by following simple steps.   

Finding a Cure

Organizations need to evaluate their digital ecosystem to identify potential vulnerabilities and risk entry points. Once completed, leaders can budget and allocate resources most efficiently. 

Moreover, the increase in threats and shadow assets has made it challenging for employees to maintain good security awareness. No matter how well-trained a workforce is, human error is inevitable because the IT and cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing. Employees often set easy passwords or even leave their credentials on public platforms, which are an open invitation for adversaries. 

Although it’s impossible to ensure 100% awareness and zero human error, reporting tools that constantly monitor the organizational network and detect potential vulnerabilities can fill this potential gap. Such tools can generate real-time incident reports, allowing organizations to react before a breach happens. It can also monitor employee actions within the internal network to identify risk-driven attitudes and provide instant reports where necessary. 

Internal Awareness Standards

Organizations must follow industry-specific standards when training employees on cybersecurity awareness. This can be achieved by regular guidance, simulation exercises, mandating strict credential standards and constantly auditing employee activities on internal systems. 

It is critical that employees only have access to the resources required to perform their duties. Overprivileged access can lead to employees misusing these or attackers exploiting them to expose critical business assets. 

Define Business Risk Tolerance 

Businesses need to carefully define their risk tolerance level. Without clarifying the level of acceptable risk, companies cannot successfully invest in security solutions and resources. 

If a business has a low-risk tolerance, CISOs must invest in security tools and solutions that focus on threat prevention. Mitigation is not a feasible approach for organizations with low-risk tolerance. On the other hand, if a business has a high-risk tolerance, security teams can focus on more sophisticated threats instead of investing resources in every security domain.

Defining risk tolerance is critical for businesses. It provides security teams with a proper direction and accurate vision of what should be achieved and guides effective investments into required cybersecurity solutions. Moreover, it provides security teams with broad visibility of the entire cybersecurity infrastructure of the organization, which leads to better threat detection and data leaks prevention.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3RaE6cb

You can also read this: Hacker Claims to Have Personal Data of 1 Billion Chinese Citizens

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