In the rapidly evolving world of cyber threats, both your mission-critical data and your customers’ information have never been more at-risk. According to a recent study by IBM, a data breach could be devastating for your organization, with breaches in 2020 costing an average of $3.86 million. With 1300 attempted attacks happening daily (and that number is expected to rise), it’s time to take a long, hard look at the way you go about your data protection strategy.
Even if you consider your organization’s data protection strategy to be top-notch there are nearly always vulnerabilities that you’ve yet to consider or new opportunities for exploitation you may not know that you are creating. Take our quiz to get a better picture of where your weaknesses lie and be sure to check out your results for tangible actions you can take to mitigate those risks.
1. What are your access policies when it comes to your IT infrastructure?
a.) Any employee has access to all our data, and we don’t track access patterns.
b.) Any employee has access to all our data, but we do track when and how they access it.
c.) We have our employees loosely categorized into access levels and we sometimes track access and use.
d.) Employees are granted access on an as-needed basis and their activity is monitored regularly. We frequently review and adjust our access policy as job responsibilities change.
2. What about physical access to your organization’s premises?
a.) Anyone can walk in the door during business hours.
b.) We keep a log of visitors.
c.) Badges are necessary to access our buildings.
d.) Employees must badge into various zones within our buildings and we have a strict visitor policy.
3. Do you classify your data?
a.) Should we be classifying our data? I feel like we don’t deal with a lot of sensitive information.
b.) We password-protect our network. Does that count?
c.) It’s up to the file creator to add a password or other protection based on their judgment.
d.) Our files are categorized and protected based on set classification criteria.
4. Are you confident your organization is up-to-date with industry compliance regulations?
a.) Honestly, I’m dreading the day our auditor shows up, because I’m not sure what they will find.
b.) I’m not afraid of our audit, but I’d like to improve our compliance processes so they’re a bit smoother.
c.) I’m not worried about passing our audits in the slightest.
d.) Our organization is consistently passing audits with flying colors and we are currently looking to obtain other compliance certifications as differentiators.
5. What do you do to secure your endpoints?
a.) We currently have employees working from their own devices, so security is up to them.
b.) Our employees are working from their own devices, but we have provided them with a company VPN and a firewall.
c.) Our employees are working from home on company devices and are well versed in multi-factor authentication, VPNs, and cyberattack training. We also recommend they do their work on a private network.
d.) There are certain employees that cannot work from home full-time due to the sensitive nature of the data they access, so they work on-premises at least part time to reduce risks.
6. Do you train your employees so they’re aware of cyberattacks?
a.) Our employees are given a quick seminar on phishing when they are onboarded, but not much after that.
b.) Our employees have an annual cybesecurity training.
c.) We have an annual cybersecurity training as well as occasional phishing test emails to keep employees vigilant.
d.) We stay on top of cyberattack trends by conducting short monthly trainings as well as frequent random phishing test emails.
7. How often do you back up your data?
a.) We don’t.
b.) We do maybe once a month.
c.) We back up regularly and keep it safely stored on-premises.
d.) We back up our data as often as possible and store it offsite in the event that something happens to our buildings.
Mostly As: Go Back to Basics
Your data protection strategy leaves your organization susceptible to a cyber-attack at any moment that could result in a devastating data breach. If you leave your data protection plan as it is right now, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” an attack will occur, so start preparing now, before it’s too late.
But all hope is not lost! There are things you can start doing today that will dramatically mitigate your risk of compromising sensitive data. Take a look at the following items to see what you may be able to implement straight away and start planning with your team for the items that may need a little more preparation.
- Implement dual-factor authentication to access all networks. This prevents your data from being compromised in the event of a lost or stolen device or login credentials.
- Create access policies for your organization’s IT and physical location and update them regularly. At the very least, your network needs to be password-protected and your employees should need badges to access your physical location.
- Start educating employees regularly about current cyberattack trends. Aware, engaged employees are safe employees. Lessening the incidence of human error will take you far when it comes to data protection.
- Consider Compliance as a Service if you need to make sure you’re meeting regulatory requirements for your industry or industries you serve.
LightEdge Can Help you Get Started
New to the data protection game and not sure where to start? It’s time to call in a professional opinion. LightEdge offers free, risk-free consultations to help you understand how your data protection strategies stack up against your competition, as well as identify any vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. Take some of the stress out of your data protection strategy and see the difference implementing our tried-and-trusted recommendations has on your data security and peace of mind. Ready to take the leap into stronger data protection? Set up a call today to get started.
Mostly Bs: Keep an Eye on Compliance
You know the ins and outs of data protection but sometimes there is a disconnect with how that can translate to your compliance audit. Whether you’re in healthcare or manufacturing or anywhere in between, compliance has the ability to make or break your organization’s reputation, so make sure your data protection strategy actively tracks to your compliance goals. Ways you can move toward better compliance include any of the following, but it’s also worth it to consult a professional to get a better picture of industry-specific ways you can move toward total compliance:
- Hire or train an internal auditor for audit prep. Take a look at who has the time and capacity to step into this role internally or opt to bring in someone new for a less biased point of view.
- See if you can inherit any security controls from your cloud or colocation provider. This can save you much of the legwork it takes to attain some of these certifications and will save you money in the long-term. If you’ll be shopping for a new provider in the future, keep this in mind as an item to discuss.
- Leverage Compliance as a Service (CaaS) to outsource some of your compliance needs if you don’t currently have the bandwidth to take on those responsibilities while continuing to work toward your larger business objectives.
CaaS is in Your Future
Compliance as a Service is a great option for you. You have the basics covered well, but you need a little something extra to get into your auditor’s good graces. Whether you’re trying to meet industry compliance standards or are going after additional certifications to stay ahead of the competition, LightEdge has a team of leading compliance experts ready to help you dazzle the auditor and maintain compliance as the standards and regulations evolve. Those same experts are ready to schedule a call with you to see how LightEdge can help you get closer to your compliance goals.
Mostly Cs: Do the Right Thing Anyway When it Comes to Data Protection
Unlike data protection trends we’re seeing in other parts of the world, like GDPR in Europe, the United States has yet to develop a similar federal law that guarantees certain privacies nationwide. Keep in mind that California has its own privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act. If you do business in or operate out of California, this will apply to you. If not, be looking for ways to accommodate these new laws to protect your ability to expand in the future, should you choose to. Additionally, these laws will likely become more common moving forward.
Even if you are fully compliant and ready to ace your audit, there are likely still vulnerabilities in your organization when it comes to your data. Though we may not have federal regulations in the United States to protect personal data, your customers may still be looking for that kind of protection from your organization, and if you want to keep their loyalty, you may have to step up and provide exemplary data protection as part of your customer service model. Here are a few things we suggest:
- This should go without saying, but do not be that company that sells its customer information. Nothing destroys trust like quite literally selling out your customers for nominal returns.
- Consider looking into an off-site backup solution to further protect your customers’ data in the event of a natural disaster or outage.
- Invest in ransomware protection and make it a key element of your data loss prevention strategy. This is an attack that is becoming much more common and takes a heavy toll, especially on customer trust and a company’s longevity.
LightEdge Cares about Your Customers
LightEdge holds doing the right thing as one of its key values. We’d love to help you do the same. We know how much your customers’ trust and loyalty means to you and we’re ready to work with your team to come up with a data protection plan that’s customized to meet your organization’s unique needs. This might mean working with you to attain additional compliance certifications or teaming up to classify your data. Your customers deserve the best possible data protection you can offer and our data protection experts deliver just that.
Mostly Ds: Level Up with Advanced Data Protection Strategies
You’ve got your data protection squared away. Congratulations to you and your organization for your outstanding commitment to data protection. That being said, it’s important to note that your employees create vulnerabilities every day as they alter your IT environment while attending to their job responsibilities. This is not a negative thing—in fact, it’s a sign that things are moving along as usual. However, it’s absolutely critical that you have systems in place to protect these vulnerabilities as they are created to avoid an absolute disaster. Here are a few things we can recommend to help detect and mitigate those vulnerabilities on the day-to-day:
- Look into CISA’s security scanning program for rapid identification of exploitable areas of your environment. They recommend completing these scans each week to view trends and quickly close gaps in your defenses.
- Look at potentially moving toward a multi-cloud environment. A more diverse cloud environment can be a helpful and cost-effective pillar of your data protection strategy, as it prevents you from keeping all your data in the same place. If this is a viable option for your organization, ensure that your cloud providers are rapidly scalable and meet all your industry compliance standards to save yourself countless headaches as you grow.
- Since you’ve already surpassed your industry’s compliance audits with flying colors, consider taking on more general compliance certifications, like ISO or Once again, choosing a CaaS provider as well as a compliant cloud provider will send you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition when it comes to how much faith your customers can place in your ability to protect their information.
LightEdge’s Data Protection Strategy Leaves Competitors in the Dust
Compliance as a service is probably old news to you, so it may be time for you to start looking for ways to further enhance your data protection strategy to stand out among the competition. With LightEdge, you can inherit many of our compliance controls AND benefit from our rapidly scalable cloud solutions so you can stay compliant and protected as your business grows. If you’re ready to learn more about how our cloud offerings can impact you and your data protection strategy, let’s schedule a call to chat.