Choosing the right data security services for your business

Choosing the right data security services for your business

Your information is the most valuable part of your business; it’s essential that you keep it secure. But how do you know the best data security services to utilise for your company?

IT security prevents malicious attacks and breaches, ultimately keeping your data safe and preventing a potential cripplingly expensive situation. Cyber attacks cost Australian businesses an estimated $29 billion* each year.

Data security is not just for government or large enterprises. Every business, large or small, that stores information digitally should have a prevention plan in place for securing their data. But how do you know where to start?

The term ‘data security’ refers to a range of products and services, but not all are suitable for every business. It’s important to work with an IT security specialist to ensure you are doing everything you need to keep your data safe.

When you engage an IT security provider they will conduct a security assessment. This is to understand the risks specific to your organisation and identify any weaknesses.

Common security risks include:

Insider threats – This refers to the act of someone connected to the business accessing and exposing sensitive information. It is often an employee, former or current, but can also be a contractor, board member or other partner connected to the business. The breach is sometimes done with malicious intent, for example an ex-employee stealing data. Sometimes the internal risk is an unknowing participant who is accidentally exploited.

Ransomware – This is a type of malware (malicious software) that restricts a user from accessing their files, essentially locking them down until a ransom is paid.

Phishing – This refers the practice of gaining access to sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and payment details, by impersonating trustworthy entities online. This is often done through email and a victim is asked to ‘confirm’ their information, where it is captured and stolen.

Virus – This is a type of malware that is designed to spread quickly between users by ‘attaching’ itself to a legitimate program or file. When a user opens an infected file or runs an infected program, it can cause havoc with their devices and spread to their contacts.

As well as looking at the risks, an IT security provider will also look at the infrastructure which underpins your organisation’s operations. What type of programs do you use and where do you keep information? Do you use an on-premise server or cloud computing for your office programs and storage? How do employees access data and do they all need to access and use the same systems? You should be prepared to discuss the current environment with your security provider as they help you to implement the right security solutions.

But what are the main security solutions that are available for businesses? There is wide range of IT security products and services and a range of categories that they fall under.

Common security services include:

Network security – This relates to the systems and products that help protect computer networks from a security breach. It generally refers to keeping internal networks safe from external threats. Implementing network security might include methods such as:

  • extra logins and multi-factor authentication
  • new passwords
  • firewalls
  • monitored internet access
  • antivirus programs
  • antispyware software
  • encryption

Internet security – This refers to a type of security which protects computer systems that are connected to the internet. There are a number of internet-specific threats which need to be addressed. This generally involves a combination of software and process improvements to prevent breaches.

Endpoint security – This refers to ensuring user devices such as laptops, desktop computers and mobile devices are not able to be accessed and exploited by malicious parties. Endpoint security is generally a type of software and it ensures individual devices are the first line of defence.

Cloud security  – This is a wide term that refers to the processes and programs utilised to protect cloud based systems, data and infrastructure. Updates and improvements can be deployed remotely which helps to ensure systems are always as secure as possible. Cloud security often comes in the form of software as a service (SAAS), secure internet gateway (SIG) and cloud-based unified threat management (UTM).

Business continuity and disaster recovery –The plans, processes and programs implemented in case of emergency to ensure that if service goes down, data remains safe and operations can continue. It is important to be prepared, even though you hope to never need to engage your BC plan. It forms part of a holistically secure environment. Generally these involve looking at factors across the whole business, with IT and data security being one very important part.

While this is not an exhaustive list, of the types of IT security available, these are the most common techniques implemented to help prevent unauthorised access and ensure data is kept secure. Any IT security solution you undertake will need to be customised depending on your unique business requirements and risks. Be prepared to share operational information with your security specialist so they can work with you to make sure you choose the right data security services to keep your business safe.

 

 

*https://www.cyber.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/ACSC-Annual-Cyber-Threat-Report-2019-20.pdf 

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