Data Exposure Risks – Why you need to secure your data.
Data exposure is a very important issue in today’s world where desperate cybercriminals are lurking around online, looking for prey. There are several ways in which your personal or business information could become compromised, it could be from exposure of sensitive data or breach of data.
This article emphasizes the dangers associated with exposing your data indiscriminately and reveals how you can protect yourself from this risk.
What is Data Security?
Data security refers to all the measures that an organization and individuals puts in place to ward off unauthorized access to their databases, websites, and other systems. If done properly, data security can also protect your data from corruption or loss. Data protection is crucial to the smooth running of your business.
Sensitive Data Exposure, what does it mean?
This is a situation in which a software application, organization, or freelancer exposes or organizations data. The difference between sensitive data exposure and data breach is that in the former, it is the owner that carelessly exposes his data, but in the case of a data breach, a hacker steals such information, the hacker gets access to this data without authorization from the owner.
When an organization fails to properly secure the database in which they store personal information, perhaps as a result of poor or no security, poor software designs, lack of encryption or weak passwords then mishaps on their software or human errors occur and their data could become exposed or breached.
What is sensitive data?
Any private user details which an individual could use to impersonate a user, can be termed sensitive data. This includes, but is not limited to social security numbers, birth dates, financial records, investigative reports, credit card details, bank account numbers, usernames, and passwords.
By gaining access to the sensitive data of your company, employees or customers, cybercriminals can begin to send phishing emails to impersonate the organization’s stakeholders or even do a direct assault on your company.
One of the most important assets of any organization is its data. Whether they are the company’s private information or the data of their clients, they have the utmost responsibility to secure the data and avoid breaches. When companies fail in their responsibilities, costly damage occurs not only to the companies reputation, but to the actual person that is compromised.
It is sad to see that so many businesses, big and small, expose sensitive data without even knowing it. The manner with which they handle sensitive data (such as employee records, transaction history, customer details, etc.) has become a cause for great concern. Some software engineers store sensitive data in plain text documents and databases and some developers will even deploy websites without SSL (secure sockets layer), and HTTPS security on the core webpages.
Your development company has a major role to play in securing your important data. Some exposure in recent times has been linked to poorly managed databases, weak cryptographic keys or algorithms, failure to implement strong password practices, and storing sensitive data in a unsecured databases that have been corrupted and downloaded by SQL injection or other threats.
Strong password refers to the full protection of passwords using cryptography so that they cannot be easily unencrypted.
Nowadays, cybercriminals using a concept referred to as bot attacks can automate the process of initiating attacks on your organization’s data security. By doing this consistently, they may be able to divert the attention of your information security team and then successfully break into your system.
Here are a few housekeeping rules:
1. Use a complex and unique strong password for every account.
Don’t use generic passwords to protect your accounts. If you worry that you may have a hard time recalling those passwords, then you may choose to take advantage of password management tech tools.
Keep close tabs on your financial accounts. Monitor the transactions and general activities that go on in your bank account. Regularly check for any suspicious activities and alert your bank once there’s any unfamiliar activity.
2. Don’t sleep on it
As soon as you notice any suspicious activity on your accounts or database, take action immediately. Every minute wasted before taking necessary action is to the detriment of your account and data. With the speeds of the internet today, you could lose all your data in a matter of minutes.
Overlooking seemingly minor glitches may lead to more significant, and often catastrophic security breaches.
3. Small companies get attacked regularly.
Do not make the mistake of believing that your company is too small to face cyberattacks. Some people believe that only big companies are the major targets of cybercriminals, but that philosophy is flawed.
Cybercriminals also target small companies. They do this primarily because they realize that the majority of these small companies do not have the resources for data security and do not have adequate security measures put in place, especially when compared to bigger companies. But adding an extra layer of security will help you rise above this threat and prevent unauthorized access to your data.
4. Use only secure links.
Hover around suspicious links with your cursor to see where they lead before taking action to click them. As much as possible, ensure that you visit only credible websites. If a website address begins with HTTP, with the S missing, you might need to be wary of them. NEVER input your credit card or other personal information into such websites.
There have been news reports of employees or customers being scammed as a result of receiving a mail with a link and inputting sensitive data into such websites. Train your staff to recognize cyber threats and respond appropriately.
Integrate quality security into your software and database. Only use a software suite if it includes malware and virus protection. And ensure you’re working with the updated version at every time. PCG takes the security of their clients’ database seriously and goes above and beyond to ensure it is never compromised.
5. Only work with a developer that takes the security of your data seriously.
Remember the risk of data exposure. It will cost you a lot financially and can severely damage the reputation of your brand should sensitive data be put in the public domain on the internet.
Phoenix Consultants Group can help you ensure that your data management procedures meet not only regulatory requirements, but can analyze and make recommendation in decreasing your risks. We offer guidance and support to avoid actions and inactions that could lead to a breach as a result of mismanagement, or careless use of data.
6. How Phoenix Consultants Group can help:
Phoenix Consultants Group has been helping businesses secure their databases and beef up systems security for over two decades. We advise managers on best practices and the necessary security protocols to ensure that their data is secure.
Do you need Phoenix Consultants Group to take a look at your data exposure? Schedule your consultation by clicking here, filling out the form or calling/emailing us today!