Protecting your data used to be so simple. All you needed was a strong firewall and some security tools. What’s changed?
Cybersecurity used to be a lot like building a fortress. As long as you had some decent guards in place, strong walls, and an imposing moat, most criminals would probably look for easier targets. Your data could be easily kept safe and secure.
Then smartphones came along, and suddenly, even the strongest castle walls might as well have been made of paper.
The world of work has irrevocably changed. People are no longer chained to their desk when they want to do their job. They can work from anywhere.
An employee can check the slides for an important presentation while on the bus. A contractor can access corporate intranet on her phone while waiting at the airport. A project team can collaborate on a document even if they’re on opposite sides of the world.
That’s done some amazing things for productivity. It’s unlocked new workflows and enabled workers to stay connected to their job 24/7. At the same time, it also comes with massive security challenges.
When files are everywhere, how do you determine who has access to what? When you’ve got contractors all over the world, how do you ensure one of them doesn’t inadvertently send sensitive data to the wrong person? When everyone is using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, how do you prevent those devices from ending up in the wrong hands – complete with all your most valuable data?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any single answer to those questions. To survive in today’s perimeter-less world, you need a few things:
- A means of walling off applications – Insecure applications represent a huge risk. Because many employees are using their own smartphones for work, business data is exposed to all manner of leaky apps. Business applications need to be kept separate from personal ones, which means they need to be sandboxed with a containerization tool.
- A way to control your files – If a contractor sells a file containing intellectual property to a competitor, will you know? If someone who shouldn’t have access to a file that contains financial data downloads it, will you be able to stop them? The answer to both questions needs to be yes, so you need a security tool that allows your IT department to both monitor and control how files are shared, accessed, and used.
- Proper training programs for employees – People remain the biggest security risk in any business. Make sure your staff knows how to recognize attacks, train them to avoid malicious applications, and tell them why proper security practices matter.
- An endpoint management solution – Last but certainly not least, if a device within your organization is compromised, you need a way to wipe away any corporate data that device contains. There are plenty of enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions on the market that enable this, and many of them now also allow management of other endpoints like PCs and IoT devices.
Cybersecurity is now more challenging than it has ever been. But it isn’t a challenge that’s insurmountable. With the right tools, tactics, and practices, you can keep your data as safe as it has ever been.
Max Emelianov is CEO at HostForWeb.
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