There’s a commonmisconception that firms only pay attention to security and privacy enough tofollow the latest legislation. Compliance requirements can be useful forpushing companies in the right direction. But the data shows that’s not thedriving force for most businesses right now.
According to a study from the data security firm, nCipher, and the Ponemon Institute, the use of encryption has transitioned from a compliance need to a proactive tool for businesses to safeguard valuable data.
The study took a look atbusinesses across many sectors and countries. It found the compliance rankedonly as the fourth-most essential reason for encrypting data.
Why do more companiesuse encryption? And what can your company do not to stay behind? Let’s findout.
What’s Increasing theDrive Toward Encryption?
Above all, two primaryfears sparked an increase in encryption. The first, employee mistakes,accounted for 54% of respondents practicing encryption. A bit behind are theexternal and internal threats from malicious actors, accounting for 49%.
Other factors also playa role. Those include a lack of clear data ownership, compliance, and otherissues.
The study reachesseveral conclusions that companies must pay attention to. Personnel training isa crucial issue that firms need to work towards to improve the security of bothcorporate and consumer data.
At the same time, the threat landscape continues to evolve and present new challenges to the security of data. The number of cyber-attack incidents continues to spike each year. It creates a vicious cycle of unprepared employees, valuable data, and a dangerous environment. They all play into the need for more significant security measures.
What Businesses Do ToImprove Security?
The study details thedifferent ways businesses use encryption. For one, they shift the focus fromcompliance to proactively applying encryption. It comes with a large variety ofsecurity enhancements.
Encryption comes in manyforms too. Firms should create a diversified portfolio of software tools tosafeguard data. It begins at the device-level and protects localized assets.
SMEs must use encryption software for business to lock files, including:
- personally identifiable information like date ofbirth, social security, or credit card numbers
- other valuable data points like workcommunications and office documents
Encryption software canhelp to protect all file types, along with other system resources. Securingthis data prevents exposure in case of unauthorized access. It often alsoshutdowns the most severe threat to firms — ransomware attacks. If the companyalready makes regular backups, that is.
During ransomwareattacks, threat actors restrict access to essential files or systems. Companiesmust pay a hefty ransom fee to get it back. Although, even if the firm doespay, there’s no guarantee an attacker will restore access.
Other Steps FirmsShould Take To Improve Security
As companies continuethis trend of proactivity, they can take extra steps to ensure their digitalsecurity.
Many software tools needlow investment and have a high payoff. Enterprise-grade VPNs, for example,allow companies to control remote access. In the aftermath of COVID-19, morejobs will stay off-site (at least partially). It will further increase thenecessity for remote access security tools.
Many firms already use blockchain-based technologies tobuild trust and conduct verifiable transactions. Blockchain and key managementstrategies will matter even more over the next few years.
Lately, password managers have also seen an increase in adoption. 42% of companies now use some sort of password vault. At the same time, many cybersecurity professionals have noted the inherent security flaws in browser-based password managers. They have pushed developers to create more robust solutions. Since these vaults hold crucial information, it’s an excellent time to review the security-policies of any password manager service.
Investment in EducationRemain Imperative
All these measures arebeneficial. But don’t underestimate the importance of educating your employees.Human mistakes still represent a potent vulnerability. Thus, firms must takethe time to ensure their staff is well-versed in security practices.
All employees, not onlythe IT team, should:
- Learn how to recognize suspicious websites and messages
- Never respond to phishing attempts
- Scan all links and files before interacting with them
- Use network firewalls
- Update OS and all software
- Backup and encrypt data on a regular basis
- Use antivirus scans
- Enable ad-blockers and block trackers
- Use multi-factor authentication
All tech-savvy peoplehave known the importance of encryption for a long time. But many data breachesshow that it was not so evident outside the IT departments. Thus, the currentwidespread use of encryption is the step in the right direction.
While more companiesadopt encryption, the ones that don’t are more than ever at risk. So,encryption practices and policies in the companies are no longer nice-to-haves;they’re a must.