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Data Vulnerability: Stages and Protections

Costs Of Data Vulnerability

An organization who becomes a victim of a cyber-attack experiences more than just loss of data. The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. in 2019 was $8.19 million, according to The Digital Guardian.1 Compromised data can interfere with every aspect of an organization, from overwhelming entire departments and preventing employees from carrying out tasks to dealing with legal implications.

Unexpected Downtime

A compromised system or device could render an entire network unavailable, resulting in a loss of productivity throughout the organization. If any devices or systems need to be repaired or rebuilt, additional resources would be assigned which could end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Irretrievable Data

Sensitive data destroyed during a malicious attack would require the use of a data recovery tool to attempt to retrieve any lost information. Any data that cannot be retrieved may have lasting consequences for an organization.

Security Complications

Any time sensitive information is accessed by an unauthorized source, the organization responsible for protecting that data is subject to legal liabilities. If the data leak is made public, the organization may also need to spend resources repairing the trust of their customers and improving their brand’s soiled reputation.

Stages Of Data Vulnerability

An organization could have several vulnerabilities in their network security. Common data vulnerabilities are often seen in the following systems:
  • Network devices: all physical devices (such as laptops, netbooks, and USB drives) and wireless connections.
  • System security: email, poor password management, software bugs either accidentally or deliberately placed, unsecured Cloud storage systems, other malicious internet links, etc.
  • Data storage: unsecured devices, employees with malicious intent, using third-party services, etc.
Most system administrators have strict security measures in place to protect against cyber threats; however, even the smallest vulnerability left undetected could be exploited. The best way to protect an organization from a cyber-attack is to perform an audit to determine all vulnerabilities.

Protection From Data Vulnerability

While cyber-attacks are common, an organization can increase their protection with a comprehensive security strategy and disaster recovery plan. Careful measures should be taken to secure information at the network, system, and data levels.

1. Network Protection

  • Patch management is the first line of defense against cyber-attacks. To prevent compromised data, implement vulnerability tests and deploy all suggested patch updates.
  • Run a Unified Threat Management (UTM) application to secure the perimeter around wireless routers and firewalls as well as protect against phishing threats.
  • Implement a stateful packet inspection to determine which network packets to allow through the firewall.
  • Increase network privacy by establishing a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

2. System Security

  • Use hardware monitoring tools to assess the safety and performance of any technology asset within the organization.
  • Carry out regular maintenance on all physical assets to maintain the safety and reliability.
  • Backup company data in multiple locations so that if any data is lost in a cyber-attack, it can be safely retrieved.

3. Information Safeguarding

  • Use advanced methods of encryption to ensure data is protected from current, more complex types of cyber-attacks.
  • Carefully limit and control employee access to company data. Implement role-based access to reduce the amount of data transferring from one employee to the next.
  • Properly sanitize media devices no longer in use to prevent sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands. (See the blog post on effective media sanitization and the importance of following NIST 800-88 standards).

Leave Media Sanitization To The Experts

One of the most important steps of data security is thorough media sanitization. Whether an organization is retiring a physical hardware or transferring it to a different department, clearing sensitive data is crucial. WipeDrive is the only data destruction solution software that has been successfully evaluated to the EAL 2+ Standard. The EAL 2+ certification is required by the US Department of Defense, Department of State, and Homeland Security. Learn more about WipeDrive by contacting a Sales Executive at 801.224.8900.
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