8 Smart Security Tools to Safeguard Customer Data
Just in 2021, more than 1800 data breaches were reported in the United States. It is estimated that more than 22 billion records containing sensitive and personal information were exposed. As if this wasn't bad enough, this appears to be a growing trend.
These breaches in security can have a devastating impact on businesses. It is estimated that the cost caused by a data breach in the United States can total up to $4.24 million on average. This can be a huge weight to be carried by small and medium companies.
Companies also face damage to their reputation. After all, who would trust a company that is not able to keep the data secure? Last but not least, this type of issue can bring serious legal problems if the company is held accountable for the damages that occurred during a data breach.
Phishing is one of the most common forms of attack. Relying solely on social engineering, this type of attack attempts to trick users into revealing sensitive information, like passwords or security card information, by presenting emails or forms that mimic the ones that come from legitimate sources.
Malware is malicious software that can damage the systems of computers and the networks they connect to. They can do different forms of damage. There are many different types, ranging from computer viruses to trojans. They spread through many different channels, including email attachments, malicious websites, and USB drives.
Ransomware is a specific type of malware. When executed, it encrypts all of the victim's files, demanding a payment (usually by untraceable methods like cryptocurrency) in exchange for the decryption key. This is very costly for people, as they risk losing all of their precious data if they don't pay, but it is potentially destructive for companies, as they have to balance an economic loss against the destruction of their business.
Insider threats, as the name implies, come from within the organization. They are performed by an individual or a group of individuals who work within the organization and perform activities that lead to security breaches. Insider threats may be motivated by financial gain, revenge, or ideology.
Let's now have a look at eight smart security tools that businesses can use to counter these threats.
This type of software uses cryptography in order to protect access to information by people who are not supposed to see it. Information can't be read because you need a key to decrypt the information in order to have access to it.
Thanks to a complex math algorithm, data is scrambled into what's called a ciphertext. You then need the key to unscramble the data. Today, encryption is used to encrypt data that will be in transit.
This type of software is pivotal in securing customer data because it makes it difficult for attackers to access and steal customer data, even if they are able to breach a company's security systems.
Firewalls are a crucial part of any security system. They filter traffic that comes in and out of a network depending on a set of rules that have been previously set by the specialist.
They can take actions on certain types of traffic that are deemed risky to mitigate the effects that they might cause over the network. Besides blocking malicious traffic, they can also prevent unauthorized access to the networks.
These are special tools that are constantly watching the traffic of the network, looking for any suspicious activity. These systems can detect any threats before they produce any harm. Artificial Intelligence can detect breaches and infections before they take place and then act accordingly.
They check the network flow for known signatures of attacks to identify patterns that can alert the system that an attack is incoming.
Using a control access system can be useful to limit who has access to sensitive customer data. These systems identify users and check the assigned role, limiting in this way the access to information depending on the permissions the user has.
This is a type of software that is installed in computer systems with the aim of protecting the system from different types of malware. They are really important because they protect the information by detecting agents that could compromise the integrity of the system.
They detect malware using different ways, such as signature-based detection, where they check the signature against a database of known threats. They also use heuristic analysis, which is a technique that uses rules and heuristics to identify suspicious activity. Recently, with the popularization of AI, malware can detect threats with a higher level of efficiency.
Virtual Private Networks are a useful tool for those who value their privacy. With a VPN, Internet traffic is routed through a tunnel after being encrypted using a really complex algorithm. They also hide your IP address, making it harder for people to know your location and your online activity.
Another element that businesses should not take for granted is the physical security of the premises. This can help prevent access to data, both physical and digital forms. One of these measures is having a proper and secure server location.
They need to be in locked rooms with keys and protected from other hazards like fire or flooding. Make sure to have cameras so you can have constant surveillance of the people who have access to your server room.
Education and training are needed for workers to learn how to choose strong passwords and handle sensitive data, including how to use encryption software and protocols. It is also important that personnel have knowledge about what to do when something happens to mitigate the damage.
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