Learn the Art of Preventing Data Leaks
May 27, 2022 | 42Gears Team
The term data leak has been garnering a lot of attention in the cyber space over the last few years. Data leaks expose sensitive business and customer information to the public. This is a dreadful experience that no business wants to go through. Unlike a data breach, which is a planned cyber attack launched by cybercriminals, data leak is an intentional or accidental exposure of confidential business information due to internal errors such as poor configuration, no or weak encryption, weak passwords, or third-party vendor breaches.
According to the Tessian research reports, there has been a 47% increase in data leak incidents over the last two years; this includes accidental data loss and deliberate data exfiltration by negligent or disgruntled employees or contractors. As the trend of global data leaks continues to increase, let’s understand why data leaks are happening in the first place. Identifying the cause(s) is the first step toward prevention.
Over the past few years, organizations have increasingly shifted their operations completely to the cloud, which has caused security concerns for a few organizations. Along with that, the emerging trend of remote and hybrid work cultures has only added fuel to the fire. Such trends have given rise to several loopholes that cybercriminals are adept at exploiting successfully.
Here are some more reasons why data leaks occur:
Unfortunately, one of the major sources of data leaks is not some unknown or forgotten security bug, but it’s human error.
- An Insider’s Error: Imagine a scenario when employees share their devices with other staff who do not have proper authorization (to access such devices). In such cases, the chances of sensitive files being exposed are very high. Even if the access is unintentional, it is considered a breach because it was viewed by an unauthorized person.
- A Suspicious Employee: An employee can intentionally access or share data with the intent of causing harm to an individual or company. In such cases, even if the employee has legitimate authorization to use the data, the purpose is to use the information for nefarious activities.
- Lost or Stolen Devices: Data leak may occur if an unlocked or unprotected laptop or external hard drive or anything that contains sensitive information goes missing.
- Malware or Cyber Criminals: Sophisticated criminals may use various attack vectors to gather information from a network or an individual.
So, the question that keeps CIOs awake at night is “how to prevent data leaks?”
The most effective method for data leak prevention (DLP) is to educate everyone at all levels - from end-users to IT personnel, and everyone in between. While trying to prevent data leaks, it’s important to understand that security is only as strong as the weakest link. Every involved individual who interacts with a system can be a potential vulnerability. Even kids, for that matter, using a tablet on your home network can pose a risk.
Here are a few best practices to avoid data leaks:
- Educating employees on best security practices and ways to avoid socially engineered attacks
- Patching and updating software regularly
- Opting for high-grade encryption of sensitive data
- Upgrading devices when the software is no longer supported by the manufacturer
- Enforcing BYOD security policies such as ensuring all devices are used in a business-grade and protected VPN environment
- Enforcing strong credentials and multi-factor authentication to encourage better user cybersecurity practices - encouraging users to start using a password manager can help
- Deploying robust tools: Data loss prevention (DLP) software allows network administrators to monitor data that is accessed and shared by end-users. It is one of the most effective ways to improve information security and protect business information from data leaks.
Data leaks can be detrimental to businesses, but when security managers understand the business environment and follow simple, manageable steps to ensure data security, it becomes easier for them to prevent data leaks from causing damage.
By deploying SureMDM’s DLP, organizations can augment their information security and protect business information from data leaks. Keep your corporate devices protected against data leaks using 42Gears SureMDM.