We live in an age when businesses know highly sensitive details about their clients. Big data translates into the most valuable marketing tool ever known; but on the flipside, online privacy has become one of the most serious concerns of modern times. Consumers entrust businesses with their private information, especially when dealing with healthcare providers, legal professionals and other organizations that handle particularly sensitive data.
Safeguarding customer information has never been more important. To that end, government-mandated compliance regulations are becoming stricter and penalties for failing to meet them are getting higher. If your data-management practices aren’t going above and beyond the call of the law, then it’s time to act immediately.
Data security should be a core goal of any organization, including those that don’t operate in highly regulated industries. That’s why regular security audits are an absolute must, not least because new threats appear all the time. When auditing your company’s security standards and protocols, you’ll want to look out for any signs that indicate you might be falling behind on compliance.
#1. Employees Are Unaware of Your Security Policies
According to Experian, around 55% of data breaches occur because of employee negligence. Much of the time, these data breaches happen because staff are not fully aware of their company’s security policies. In other words, it doesn’t matter how robust your security policies look on paper if your employees aren’t following them.
All the security protocols in the world mean nothing if your employees aren’t fully aware of the risks and understand the practices and policies in place to ensure that confidential data doesn’t land in the wrong hands. Compliance regulations also make abundantly clear not just which security protocols you should have in place, but also how they need to be followed.
A simple solution is ongoing staff training. A lack of proper communication can leave businesses exposed to a multitude of security risks, and that’s why regular staff training should be a top priority. By creating a culture of accountability through training, you’ll be able to meet compliance standards and transform your weakest link into a human firewall.
#2. Your Network Is Vulnerable to External Attacks
Most attacks require end-user involvement to work, as is the case with phishing scams and other social engineering attacks. In other words, for an attack to be successful, the victim needs to take the desired action, such as clicking on a malicious link, giving away confidential information or downloading a malicious file. However, that doesn’t mean external attacks shouldn’t be overlooked, either.
External attacks work by exploiting network vulnerabilities that give hackers access to your systems without requiring any end-user action. Common types of remote attacks include DNS cache poisoning, port scanning, DoS attacks and exploits of vulnerabilities specific to your current configuration.
To be compliant, you need to conduct regular security audits and take a proactive approach toward cybersecurity. That means implementing measures such as data encryption, remote monitoring, firewalls and antivirus software. You should also keep your operating systems, firmware and software like document management systems up to date. Failing to implement these measures usually means you’re noncompliant.
#3. Staff Take Confidential Information Outside the Office
The emergence of cloud computing has allowed workforce mobility to become one of the biggest trends of our time. However, the increased productivity and flexibility doesn’t come without a price. When employees can use their own devices for work while at home or elsewhere, the implications for security are extremely serious.
Compliance regulations require organizations to maintain complete visibility into their data. But this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the benefits of having a mobile workforce. What it does mean, however, is that your IT department needs to be able to control the flow of all confidential data flowing to and from employee-owned devices.
Maintaining visibility and control over BYOD clients requires implementing detailed auditing for tracking things like logins, locations, IP addresses, device types, URLs accessed, and various other parameters. To maintain control over data stored on BYOD clients, it’s necessary to implement a cloud-based solution that ensures employee privacy and control over business data.
The PaperSave document management system helps organizations meet their compliance obligations while also reducing overheads and streamlining workflows. Contact us today to find out how our integrated solutions can help serve your business.