5 cybersecurity practices to pursue in the second half of 2016

To protect sensitive data, businesses must take the time to refocus on best practices

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In the past five years, busi­ness­es of all sizes have real­ized just how vul­ner­a­ble they are to cyber attacks.

Ed note_iSheriff_Oscar MarquezThe aston­ish­ing increase in the num­ber of attacks each year trou­bles cor­po­rate lead­ers, IT pro­fes­sion­als and chief infor­ma­tion secu­ri­ty offi­cers, who see their secu­ri­ty efforts foiled by hackers.

The num­ber of large cor­po­ra­tions tar­get­ed since 2015 is proof that every­one is vul­ner­a­ble. Wher­ev­er you look, there is an Ash­ley Madi­son, Home Depot or JP Mor­gan Chase breach that makes you real­ize just how pre­car­i­ous secu­ri­ty struc­tures are.

In sports, teams regroup at half­time and get back to work in the sec­ond half with a refo­cused goal of fin­ish­ing the game strong. The same holds true for secu­ri­ty prac­tices. To help busi­ness­es beef up secu­ri­ty in the sec­ond half of 2016, here are some ideas to keep data safe:

1. Be aware of stored data

It is aston­ish­ing how many big firms do not know they have huge chunks of data in their sys­tems. Tech­nolo­gies such as the Inter­net of Things con­tribute a lot to this, but com­pa­ny data should be han­dled bet­ter over­all. Know­ing what is stored in their sys­tems would pro­vide com­pa­nies with infor­ma­tion about which data needs to be pro­tect­ed most against threats.

2. Focus on pro­tect­ing data

The biggest cas­es of 2015 relat­ed to data breach­es of glob­al ser­vices and cor­po­ra­tions. Busi­ness own­ers think that beef­ing up fire­walls and secu­ri­ty perime­ters is the answer, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Pro­tect­ing their data should be the pri­or­i­ty. Secure encryp­tion is vital to pre­vent data from being com­pro­mised eas­i­ly should the cor­po­rate net­work be breached.

3. Address the mobile threat

Many cor­po­ra­tions allow employ­ees to use their per­son­al devices in the work­place. It’s safe to assume that most employ­ees do not take the nec­es­sary secu­ri­ty mea­sures for their mobile devices. This puts cor­po­rate data on such devices at great risk. IT admin­is­tra­tors need to have better—not more—control over such devices.

4. Spread awareness

It’s always good to make employ­ees com­pa­ny­wide aware of the threats they face. Talk­ing with employ­ees reg­u­lar­ly about new and emerg­ing threats and shar­ing ideas about improv­ing secu­ri­ty is good practice.

5. Take insid­er threats seriously

You could shell out mil­lions of dol­lars try­ing to pro­tect your net­work from out­side threats only to be undone by an employ­ee who clicks on a nefar­i­ous link and com­pro­mis­es sen­si­tive data. Hack­ers reg­u­lar­ly send mali­cious emails to many employ­ees in a firm in hopes that one of them falls for it—and some­one fre­quent­ly does. Encour­age employ­ees to be more vig­i­lant since such emails often can eas­i­ly be spotted.

More sto­ries relat­ed to data security:
Non­com­pli­ance with data secu­ri­ty best prac­tices can cost com­pa­nies plenty
As work­ers move out of the office, busi­ness secu­ri­ty risks multiply
Most busi­ness­es unpre­pared for email-based attacks