No company likes the words “data breach” because they signal a serious problem. It also means the organization will have to spend time in recovery mode, which is costly, along with assessing how much damage was done to their digital assets.
For something like this to occur, it’s normal to think an advanced intrusion method was used to “hack the mainframe.” The reality is that data breaches – and by association numerous security threats – occur because of common mistakes. Here are five of them that are often the culprits of security problems.
1. Losing hardware. If your company utilizes a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program or has workers access business content from their devices, there’s always some risk involved. That risk skyrockets when workers lose devices containing business information. Savvy parties can use that info to breach networks and siphon off valuable data.
It’s good to create policies encouraging workers to openly report lost devices as soon as possible.
2. Simple logins. While it’s not always the best idea to constantly reset passwords every month, it’s not safe to have a lax password policy either. Workers that utilize easy-to-guess logins put the network at risk, as malicious third-parties often use a mix of social engineering and profile prowling to take guesses at what passwords might be. Enforce a complex password policy to avoid this.
3. Phishing scams and social engineering. You read and hear about them all the time, but unfortunately phishing scams still cause problems today. Often, they involve emails cloaked in official-looking images with a sender address that appears trustworthy.
Workers who don’t practice a safe approach end up clicking on malicious links, giving away bits of company information. It’s important to educate the workforce on shady, dangerous emails.
4. Mobile malware. A BYOD policy is great on paper and sometimes better in practice, but not only does a company have to worry about lost devices, it also has to prepare for mobile-introduced malware too.
Not everyone who uses their device for work has the best security policies for that same device. Outdated apps, accessing unencrypted wireless points, no security, shared logins – the list goes on. All of these weak points can provide a doorway to the company network.
5. Ignoring regulations. Employees who ignore company policy put the organization in danger. This can come from a variety of things, such as using insecure connections, ignoring protocols for messages, storing passwords in an unsafe way, keeping physical records of assets that should be digital, and so on.
It’s important that everyone, employees and management included, follow the regulations given to them to create a secure network. Granted, making sure all workers follow these rules is challenging, as there are always those who circumvent them.
Data breaches can happen for simple reasons. It’s not always a complex attack carried about by an expert hacker team but often just human error that leads to a leak. If you’re experiencing frequent breaches, it might be time to look at your current security policies.