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Nov 6, 2013

Four Ways Your Data is at Risk

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Four Ways Your Data is at Risk
When people think about the dangers that exist in terms of Internet hacking and data breaches, they usually picture an evil hacker in a dark room hovering over a computer. But this type of malicious, intentional attack is just one way that your company’s sensitive data is at risk. There are actually a few more likely culprits, including company employees, competitors and even your own customers. So much focus is placed on external threats – and that’s where many companies invest significant portions of their time and financial resources. But many fail to realize that some of the biggest risks originate internally.

Your Employees

A data breach can occur because an employee decides to steal the information and use it for personal gain. While this does happen, statistics show that it is more likely that negligent insider activities results in a data breach. This can happen because personal devices are lost or stolen, if management passwords are stolen or employees do not take proper precautions with identification cards, passwords and accessing secure databases while at work.
While these instances may not be intentional, they can still cause real damage. Even if the employee makes the company aware of a potential problem, further issues can occur if the enterprise fails to take proper steps to ensure data security.

Your Competitors

Business espionage has been a way many companies have been able to gain competitive advantage. Even Willy Wonka had to close down his chocolate factory because his competitors were sending spies to discover his chocolate secrets. Technological advances have made stealing competitive data easier than ever. Companies can hire hackers to infiltrate a system and coerce employees into handing over sensitive information – and some of it can even be found on the Internet if a competitor knows where to look. Companies must take steps to protect proprietary information by using encryption codes and multiple layers of security to limit access.

Your Customers

Your customers can be a way for hackers to gain access to sensitive and proprietary data, as well. Many people do not take adequate steps to protect desktop computers, laptops or mobile devices. This makes it easier for hackers to hijack information from a personal computer and use it to gain entry into your company network. They can also insert code in cookies or user requests to retrieve information from a company website, providing them easy access to otherwise secured areas later.

Hackers

Not all hackers use legal methods for personal gain. A new form of hacker has emerged – these individuals believe that they can use their skills for political agendas. This particular group believes that they are doing the wrong things for the right reasons and bringing to light corporate wrongdoing in order to gain publicity. While they think of themselves as ethical hackers, they may steal company information in order to publish it on the web, garnering publicity and leading to consumers demanding and shaming the company into correcting what they perceive as inappropriate actions.

Must read: How To Prevent Your Data From Being Hacked! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Enterprises must consider all of the different avenues that could be used to gain unauthorized access to proprietary data, as well as all potential sources. Employees can be a source of a data breach, whether intentionally or due to negligence. Competitors may decide that it is easier to steal your innovative ideas than to create their own, using different tactics to obtain that information. Your customers’ carelessness can give hackers a backdoor entry into your database infrastructure. And hackers who believe they are protesting poor business ethics may behave immorally in order to support their cause. Consider these aspects when creating a security plan to protect your company’s important information.

Also check out this infographic by signix that take a closer look Who Can You Trust in a Digital World? From Digital Signatures to Encrypted Calls.

infographic: Who Can You Trust in a Digital World? From Digital Signatures to Encrypted Calls.

About Author
This Article is contributed by Fergal Glynn. He is the Director of Product Marketing at Veracode, an award-winning application security company specializing in secure SDLC and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools. See what Veracode has to offer you veracode.com.

(Image via Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com)

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