Small businesses, mid-sized firms and large enterprises alike have struggled to maintain a strong handle on the security of their data, networks and other digital assets, as hackers and insider threats have plagued the private sector. Kable recently released a report regarding the current trends taking shape in enterprise IT security, including the challenges and complexities of managing these frameworks in a consistent and effective fashion.
The researchers argued that integration of all necessary components associated with protection, especially those related to newer IT assets and strategies such as mobility and the Internet of Things, is a particular issue given the diversity of systems. What's more, they argued that all firms are facing significant backlash for failed security performances, but that many are beginning to leverage more advanced analytics-based processes to better inform their protocols and policies.
Virtually every major trend to have surfaced in the past few years has had direct security implications, and quickly become critical to competing in the modern era to boot, including mobility, analytics, cloud computing and the IoT. This means that firms have had to quickly create strong, intelligent security and deployment strategies while not dragging their feet too long on implementation, especially given the unique advantages that accompany speedy, agile implementation capabilities.
If you would like a little background regarding the ways in which IT risk management is evolving, as well as small-business owners' responsibilities in protecting their firms, check out this video from the Sequence Media Group:
More research is being conducted to identify the key concepts of risk management that need to be reconciled today than ever before, and entrepreneurs need to keep up with this information to ensure that their strategies are aligned with best practices. Regardless of which type of security procedures are in place - or the face of IT as it stands today - all companies need to be aggressive, proactive and diligent in their protective processes to avoid massive financial losses and hindered brand images in the eyes of clientele.
Mobile might be most worrisome
Since enterprise mobility first came into style, it has been a constant source of risk for many organizations, as such a large rate of data breaches has been traced back to smartphones, tablets, portable computers and mobile apps. This is particularly disconcerting given the next major trend expected to impact the private and public sectors - the IoT - which will involve even more endpoints and exponentially higher complexity with respect to management and monitoring.
What's more, new threats are emerging at an alarming rate, and many of them are specifically focused upon the common weaknesses in corporate mobility security strategies. TechTarget contributor Eric Klein of VDC Research recently published a blog post regarding the types of threats to mobile security that are capable of thwarting protocols and protections to compromise data and systems within victimized businesses, as well as the ways to defend against them.
According to the author, tactics that involve targeting wireless Internet systems, Bluetooth functionality and Near Field Communication hardware are among the more dangerous ones out there today, and IT professionals need to take them seriously. He also brought up the prevalence of poor identity and access management controls among modern businesses that lead to unauthorized individuals getting into data storage environments containing sensitive information.
These issues are not necessarily new, but they are just as important to understand and defend against today as they ever have been, and small-business owners need to get a better idea of what their firms have to avoid. Klein argued that the first step is to take inventory of the devices that are being used and, more specifically, their operating systems, then work to ensure that IT professionals are capable of managing and securing the full spectrum.
Perhaps more importantly, the author urged companies to become a bit more serious about their identity and access management procedures, especially as they relate to mobile endpoints, and bring down the hammer on more risky practices and behaviors among users. Furthermore, he noted that firms will also need to ensure that apps are properly governed and managed, with all employees learning how to navigate the risk-filled software landscape more autonomously.
As is the case with virtually any segment of IT security today, comprehensive strategies are key. These include provisions related to employee training, IT security solution deployment, technology professional enablement and the use of managed services to plug gaps almost immediately. Above all else, security programs need to be proactive, rather than reactive, to truly drive risk down as far as possible.
"Proactive security strategies will always win out."
Many businesses have reactive security strategies in place that will essentially only function once an attack has already occurred, with damage control being the key feature of the protocols. Simply put, this is not the way to go, as it all but ensures that events will take place, and even smaller attacks or data breaches will lead to significant losses. One study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM revealed that the average cost of breach was $3.8 million in 2014, which was 23 percent higher than the figure recorded in 2013.
Proactive security strategies will always win out, and they involve more diligent, intelligent and analytical management of each policy involved in the overall protective framework. For example, using predictive analytics solutions, companies can now better assess where threats might be emerging before they begin to actually present risks to the businesses themselves, and fortify their systems accordingly.
It is worth noting that there is no surefire way to avoid a data breach altogether, but putting more effort into proactive, responsive and agile security processes can go a long way toward mitigating threats that would otherwise sneak past more flippant controls. When in doubt, small-business owners must always consider leveraging the support and solutions of a trusted managed service provider.
In the coming years, organizations that keep their risk as low as possible will likely enjoy greater brand loyalty and operational continuity.