With all the threats to data security in today’s IT landscape, viruses, once the bane of an IT administrator’s existence, are the least of their worries. Here’s a look at some of the concerns companies face when trying to secure data in a Web 2.0 world.
Targeted cyber attacks
Cyber attacks are no longer the creation of bored teenage hackers looking for bragging rights. With global organised crime syndicates behind cyber attacks, the nature of how they attack networks is changing, says a recent report by Forrester Research. No need for hackers to gather as much information as possible in one go; targeted attacks can now extract data over a longer period of time.
From intentional leaks from disgruntled employees to blunders involving misplaced laptops, data is escaping from inside organisations. The 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report released in July found that almost 50 per cent of data breaches were inside jobs. Companies need to be more vigilant about who has access to information, especially when it comes to corporate networks outside the firewall. The U.S. military is so concerned about insider threats to security that the Department of defence is working on an algorithm to figure out when trusted insiders may be on the brink of psychologically turning on an organisation.
Cloud computing opens up a new set of data-security concerns, mainly because it means companies must relinquish control of security to an outside party. While cloud computing providers are doing everything they can to build secure data centres, the way data is stored in the cloud – in shared environments alongside other customer data – is different from how a company might store it themselves and poses security concerns.
Corporate employees aren’t just wasting time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter – they’re inadvertently leaking company data. Aside from the vulnerabilities in these online applications that seep into corporate networks, people are often posting private information. Third-party applications that employees can access through Facebook – which are often developed by individuals or very small companies – may also pose security threats unknown to corporate IT administrators.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in today’s workplace. While companies have some control over protecting devices they configure, many employees use personal smartphones to download and access corporate information, giving IT administrators little to no control over their security. Because it’s so difficult to implement platform-specific security given the range of devices being used, the paradigm is shifting from device-specific solutions to security being built into the network.
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