You cannot swing a laptop without hitting a major data breach these days. Internationally there are lawsuits launched every day. Security officers are being raked over the coals and their integrity and qualifications are being scrutinised and questioned. People are infuriated by the losses, financial and reputational (even worse) to their businesses and themselves.
The latest string of major breaches are aimed at businesses with security budgets that are larger than the annual turnover of most South African businesses. It is nothing short of naïve to think this can’t happen or is not actually happening, to you.
I live by the mantra that there are two types of businesses – those who have been breached and those that don’t know that they have been breached. Do you know where your business fits in? We live in a South Africa driven by digital migrations and evolving data security and compliance laws and regulations, the life of the chief information officer (CIO) is complex. Where should they start?
The CIO must work with the business to work out how to provide data to internal staff for them to do their jobs while keeping it secure, preventing external leaks and stopping data theft. This individual is also the one who is responsible to ensure that the business or public entity complies with PAIA and PoPI.
Is there any way this can be achieved without real visibility? Policies will always be the starting point, but without effective visibility on real usage there is no way to know that there is compliance.
Let me give you an example: your policy states that any data stored or used on a corporate asset that contains personal information must be encrypted and should not be moved or copied outside of the organisation’s secured environment. This makes sense, right? So now think about your environment, do you know:
1. How many external storage devices were inserted into any corporate asset in the last 24 hours, 7 days, etc.?
2. How many users are accessing free cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.?
3. What data was copied or moved or uploaded to any of these?
4. What about a user who has copied data onto their PC desktop and renamed a file? Can you tell what they did next?
5. Has data been copied out of the ERP, HR or other system and then placed into a Word document or Excel spreadsheet?
6. Do you still think your data is secure and you are compliant with laws and your own internal policies?
The other method to help with these issues often means a business will buy a string of solutions or tools to protect data. A bit of encryption here, a firewall analysis platform there, desktop DLP over there. We then end up having a large group of tools and nobody to check them. The silky tongued sales person showed them this amazing solution and yet it sits unmanaged, reporting to nobody or simply not deployed.
You do not need to look at new tools, you need to get visibility and a partner. Please ensure that you do not simply find a product provider; make sure the information security company is a strategic business partner. The right partner will identify holes, develop a plan to cover them and also guarantee ongoing support and guidance to continually improve your data security compliance and become an integral part of your continued business success.
When you choose the right partner you will be able to rest easy and focus on your business, knowing that your data security is in good hands. The right partner can provide you with the necessary action, remediation, monitoring, alerting and should then also provide the management and risk committee reports to ensure ongoing compliance.
This article first appeared in the Hitech Security Solutions Magazine.