Data leakage – what is it, and why does it matter? Simply put, data leakage is when data is transmitted from within an organization to an outside party without authorization. In today’s world, most of this occurs through technology. Even with a global pandemic keeping us inside our homes, data leakage is still a threat due to modern technology.
Data leakage can come from various sources.
Inside threats involve someone within the organization or someone who has hacked into an insider’s account, acquiring sensitive data, and taking it outside the organization.
Outside threats represent the well-known dangers involving data leakage. Cyber-attacks, phishing, malware and other tools used by criminals to access data are outside threats that require protection and vigilant monitoring by an organization.
Unintentional exposure occurs not from malicious attacks exclusively, but also negligence or a failure to follow organizational best practices. Leaving Internet access unprotected, failing to identify potential threats or simply leaving sensitive data exposed in a public setting can cause data leakage. An organization that takes data leaks seriously will consider all types and continuously monitor its workflow and weak points to identify and eliminate potential avenues for breaches.
Types of Data
To prevent data leakage, an organization needs to know what types of data it has since each kind has its own vulnerabilities.
Physical data includes printed materials, optical discs, or flash drives that contain sensitive material. Leaving these items unattended or easily accessed is an invitation to data leakage and won’t be detected until the items are identified as missing or compromised.
Data in motion includes any paths by which data travels to and from locations. Email, peer-to-peer communication, and wireless/mobile networks are all used to transmit, access, and send data.
Each device accessing the data in motion is a potential source for data leakage, which creates threats to data at the endpoints. This data can also be downloaded to flash drives or saved on hard drives, creating forms of the physical data mentioned above, along with new (and often unknown) sources of data leakage.
Data at rest is data stored on databases or other long-term storage methods. While they contain fewer points of potential leakage since the data is not in motion, the database itself is a potential target, since criminals will assume penetrating it will access a treasure trove of valuable data.
Any of the above threats to the different types of data can create dangers that could manifest in various ways. From compliance violations, to legal issues, to threatening the viability of the entire organization, data breaches need to be addressed before they actually happen, with a long-term plan in place to ensure they don’t become more likely as the business changes and grows.
There are ways to mitigate these risks through Data Leak Prevention. Our team can institute an effective Data Leak Prevention strategy through strategic planning and implementing a step-by-step process to secure your corporate network, servers, files, devices, and any other associated hardware or software. With the appropriate setup, we can track the journey of strategic and sensitive data within the system we set up.
Our team will assemble the Data Leak Prevention strategy through the following procedures:
- An analysis of your company
- Listening to your feedback as to what files are of primary importance
- Studying existing in-place infrastructure, devices, hardware, and software
- Identifying ideal software solutions
- Identifying ideal hardware solutions
Upon our completion of the above steps as well as others, we will set up a security structure that will allow us to flag any unauthorized access or vulnerable leak points. As technologies advance for hackers and threatening parties, so will our security systems, ensuring complete protection now and in the future. In addition, we will assemble simple, easy to follow suggestions for dealing with day-to-day data transmission and storage, making safety so easy that any and all employees can follow this.
Additional more sophisticated processes we instill will include:
Email Control & Monitoring:
Most employees send hundreds of emails every week, providing for hundreds of opportunities for data threats. Filtering content for threatening parties will mitigate these threats as well as provide users an opportunity to avoid opening any threatening files. Every year each of us are sent hundreds of potentially harmful emails. Filtering will lower the risk of these threats.
Encrypted data will prevent unwanted readers from being able to functionally read, review, or use any data they catch. This is quickly becoming one of the most popular security safety features.
Firewalls ward off malicious behavior and threatening items from entering your device naturally. Top firewalls develop and update themselves overtime to keep up with the changing threatening technologies.
Protection of Endpoints:
Endpoints include devices such as phones, computers, etc. Securing these devices will secure your data. Only authorized personal who pass security clearances will be able to access the information.
Other items, such as securing backup infrastructure, data analysis (for files and images), and user education will establish an overall strong system to benefit each user and company while also protecting their outside clients and affiliated parties.
If you have more questions or need help securing your data, Imperium Data Services can answer those questions, guide your team, and implement the right solution for you. Simply use our contact page to begin the conversation.