Organizations in all sectors are more cognizant than ever of the importance of consumer data. Many companies are also realizing that they must meet new cybersecurity-related laws and regulations, as well, such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act. Many organizations are actively investing in cloud technology for cybersecurity purposes. However, the truth is that they should also be considering cloud encryption.
One of the reasons that encryption is so important is because it adds a new level of security. Let’s assume the worst-case scenario: that data from your organization is compromised, thanks to hackers or other cybercriminals. If your data is encrypted, it means that secure keys can render that data essentially useless in the hands of a bad actor.
Of course, who do you hire to make sure that your data is safe? Also, how do you know that the actions you’ve taken are adequate, given the fact that technology evolves so rapidly? In addition, how do you know whether you’ve hired the right person?
Here are some tips and practices to help you improve your encryption strategy.
Categorize Data Accordingly
The truth is that not all data requires encryption. We know that companies are constantly handling data, whether it’s sensitive or non-sensitive. Your organization should first and foremost come up with a way to determine which data should be encrypted, and why. For example, we know that human resources (HR) data and/or legal data almost always contain sensitive information – thus, it should always be encrypted.
Your company must not only make the distinction as to what kind of data should be encrypted but make these standards known. You might also want to find out whether the data falls under certain regulatory requirements. Similarly, your company should be aware of whether the data contains intellectual property, as well. In addition, you should avoid low-level encryption because it is susceptible to hackers and cybercriminals.
Create An Encryption-Focused Culture
One of the main issues with companies is that employees might understand what should be done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they act in this particular manner. Many professionals want to feel as though they “fit in” at their workplace. In fact, 46% of people view company culture as “very important” when applying with a company.
You might be able to lecture or e-mail endlessly about the importance of encryption, but none of that matters unless it actually becomes part of your company culture. Your employees might find it tiresome to constantly encrypt data before sending and receiving it. However, if they understand that cloud-based encryption is crucial to your organization’s success, it can help with overall data security.
Improper Key Management
A Crowd Research Partners study recently concluded that security professionals believe that cloud-based encryption is the safest security technology out there. This now begs the question: who should be in control of managing the keys?
It’s hard to believe that companies would go through all of the time and money to encrypt their data, only to use the same key over and over again. However, can lead to a significant data breach. Similarly, many companies fetch the key in an insecure manner.
Improper key management can be devastating to a company, no matter the size or sector. Consider a key management system with clear policies in order to avoid this issue. Obviously, keys should be kept completely separate from any data whatsoever.
Back-Up Data In Physical Location
Countless businesses rely on the cloud for data storage, so it might sound counterintuitive to back up your data in a physical location. However, if your security is compromised; electronic copies of your data might help save you a tremendous amount of time and money when it comes time to recover from a breach or hack.
Another tip is to back up data to a storage drive or a device of some kind. It means that you can access data even if you don’t have an Internet connection, for whatever reason. You’ll also probably want to encrypt your backup data, as well.
If you want your data to be safe, you have to control how information and applications are shared and used within your organization. If you implement role-based access control, it might help tighten data security and the general flow of information. If your organization doesn’t regulate employee access according to job function, how safe could it be in the face of a data breach?
If you’re serious about keeping data safe, you also want to make sure that your employees are as well-versed with respect to cybersecurity as possible.
Nobody wants to believe that employees within an organization would be the source of a data breach. Regardless, an internal breach is something that you should be prepared for. Your organization should conduct regular mock breaches or “fire drills” with this scenario, to make sure that any sensitive data is protected.
Your employees should understand the importance of cybersecurity training and should be emphasized. This kind of cybersecurity training can help in nightmare scenarios that you didn’t particularly anticipate.
Many corporations have the resources to spend a significant amount of money on data security and consider the problem solved. This is an extremely short-sighted approach. The only way to truly understand whether your encrypted data is safe in the cloud is to actually undergo some vulnerability testing.
The amount of times that your organization chooses to test whether there are vulnerabilities is up to you. You should understand the set of incident response tools that you would utilize in the case of a worst-case scenario, and security audits should be scheduled frequently. Of course, the frequency of security audits depends on the devices that you utilize and the nature of your organization. It might not make sense for your bottom line to perform a security audit every month, but you should attempt to complete a security audit quarterly, or twice yearly, at the very least.
It’s no secret that cloud technology has essentially revolutionized the IT sector in many various ways. More organizations are able to collaborate because of technology, which also allows for increased scalability and data security. However, the truth is that information can still be compromised in the cloud – which is one of the reasons why data encryption is so important.
Every organization has to take important steps to ensure that their data is safe because a data breach can be devastating to a company in any sector. A company needs to understand what data should be encrypted before anything else because the truth is that not all data requires encryption.
Of course, company culture is extremely important when we speak about data security. We know that many organizations might tout certain values in their mission statements, but an actual encryption-focused culture will go a long way towards helping everyone understand the importance of encryption. Your employees might understand what cloud technology and/or encryption is, but does one lecture really drive the point home? You should make sure that everyone involved understands how important these concepts are.
If your employees are also aware of cybersecurity concepts on their own, it can be extremely advantageous to your company and its data. You might consider offering some incentives or resources for employees to learn more about encryption and cloud technology to encourage them.
More companies than ever before are realizing the importance of encryption, and want to know what more they can do to ensure that they protect both themselves and their customers. Contact RSI Security to encrypt your cloud data, and make sure that your data is safer than ever before.