As cloud, mobile and social computing continue to gain momentum in the business world, the possibility of exposing confidential assets increases. Decision-makers need to adopt the most innovative document protection tools to keep sensitive resources protected from both insiders and outsiders.
A recent report by IT Governance highlighted these concerns, noting that many organizations fail to educate employees in the proper techniques needed to secure mission-critical documents and information. As a result, the private sector continues to fall victim to devastating data breaches that impair its financial stability and overall reputation.
IT Governance said the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud movements are introducing a number of new threats that businesses have never encountered before. For this reason, executives need to learn as much about the evolving IT landscape as possible and share their findings with workers through innovative training programs and security policies.
If companies fail to emphasize the importance of these document security initiatives, sensitive information will continue to be exposed through the actions of ignorant employees who have failed to see the error of their ways.
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A new study by SecurityMetrics revealed that many companies are not implementing the appropriate document security tools to keep personal information safe. In fact, a number of healthcare, hospitality and retail organizations have failed to encrypt confidential payment card data, which could be exposed by cybercriminals.
"Whether a business stores unencrypted card data because of an improperly configured payment application, or because employees handle data improperly, storing card data without encryption is against industry regulation," said Gary Glover, security assessment director at SecurityMetrics.
The research revealed that credit card fraud costs companies more than $52 billion each year. In many cases, these incidents occur simply because decision-makers failed to encrypt sensitive information, which was easily exploited and used by malicious individuals.
Executives should consider using document rights management and other advanced access control tools to ensure only authorized workers have the ability to view confidential resources. Failing to implement advanced document protection tools will only make firms more vulnerable and, as a result, less likely to remain competitive in the coming years.
Businesses today are embracing the digital age and have begun using cloud computing and other technologies to enhance their ability to manage the growing number of online resources. Since the virtual environments are relatively new, however, many decision-makers are looking for innovative document protection tools to ensure the safety of mission-critical resources.
In a recent discussion with Virtual-Strategy Magazine, security expert Rami Shalom said most companies want to use tools that provide more visibility into governance policies. Decision-makers need to be aware of when documents are moved, where they are migrated to and the purpose behind the transfer. Without this ability, IT departments will not be able to effectively protect confidential resources.
Shalom also said executives are leveraging encryption and other document security solutions to ensure individuals without the proper credentials do not have the ability to view sensitive records without permission, Virtual-Strategy Magazine reported.
Small and large companies alike should consider using document rights management tools that act as access control systems to prevent the unauthorized viewing of mission-critical assets. By using these technologies, the private sector as a whole will be able to embrace the cloud without the concern of inadvertently exposing critical information.
The Information Security Forum, widely considered to be among the world's leading information security and risk management bodies, recently said the advent of big data has introduced a number of document security concerns. Regardless of the potential benefits the technologies provide, decision-makers need to address vulnerabilities as soon as possible or risk exposing confidential information, according to a FierceMobileIT report.
"Organizations must prepare for the unpredictable so they have the resilience to withstand unforeseen, high impact events," said Steve Durbin, global vice president of the ISF, according to the news source.
Durbin said companies should think about the evolving risk landscape in terms of how threats can affect their most valuable resources and daily operations. In doing so, decision-makers can develop robust document protection strategies that will ensure the safety of confidential data.
As big data continues to disrupt the private sector, general security and business continuity initiatives need to take the projects into account. If decision-makers do not acknowledge the evolving threat environment, they risk exposing mission-critical resources and damaging their reputation.
A new study by B2B International revealed that roughly half of companies around the world are unaware of the document security issues they face each day. The survey, which polled more than 3,300 senior-level IT professionals, also found that approximately 58 percent of respondents lack the necessary resources to ensure mission-critical information remains safe.
Thirty-five percent of decision-makers said they do not have the appropriate number of trained personnel, B2B International noted. This issue needs to be tackled with intensive training programs, not just the hiring of new employees.
"Increasing the level of computer literacy among staff is an essential element of security, while senior management needs to be fully aware of the potential consequences of cyberthreats and understand that reliable protection of the corporate network is vital in ensuring the effective development of a company's IT infrastructure," security expert Eugene Kaspersky said.
Decision-makers should consider educating employees in access control policies, which limit an individual's ability to view classified material without the proper credentials. This, along with general security best practices training, will likely enhance document protection initiatives.
European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx recently issued a warning for organizations using the cloud, emphasizing the importance of document protection.
In an opinion titled "Unleashing the potential of Cloud Computing in Europe," Hustinx advocated for the creation of standard clauses for cloud computing contracts that would clearly define where responsibility lies regarding the protection of data stored in the cloud.
"We must ensure that cloud service providers do not avoid taking responsibility and that cloud customers are able to fulfil their data protection obligations. The complexity of cloud computing technology does not justify any lowering of data protection standards," wrote Hustinx.
Hustinx noted that currently, the organization utilizing the cloud, not the vendor, is responsible for all necessary document security.
However, as a recent study revealed, not every firm manages to achieve a sufficient level of protection when utilizing the cloud. Conducted by V3, the study found that among IT professionals working for U.K. businesses using the cloud, more than half believed their employers were ill-informed regarding relevant data protection laws.
Managing the risk landscape facing today's private sector is becoming a challenge for businesses around the world, especially as mobile and cloud technologies continue to disrupt operations. For this and other reasons, companies need to ensure that decision-makers remain in control of any initiatives aimed to improve document protection capabilities, according to an InfoWorld report.
Calculating risk requires executives to find the balance between keeping mission-critical resources safe and not impairing operations, the news source said. Adding to the complexity, IT departments, which are meant to help organizations face security concerns, often exaggerate circumstances by only sharing worst-case scenarios with decision-makers.
It is therefore important that managers use common sense and apply more advanced document security tools to highly sensitive resources, while taking the IT department's sometimes-pessimistic view with a grain of salt, according to InfoWorld. In this sense, applying intuitive access control systems may provide multiple advantages.
A document rights management platform, for example, will ensure only authorized individuals have access to highly confidential resources, while simultaneously providing executives with visibility into who views what files and why. By using these types of security tools, organizations will likely be able to manage risk more effectively.
Although decision-makers continue to deploy innovative document protection initiatives, the cybersecurity landscape often evolves and makes even the most advanced strategies ineffective, according to a ZDNet report. For this and other reasons, companies need to stay focused on the end game: keeping mission-critical assets away from malicious individuals.
"The more you try to squash [data breach incidents], the more they [will] evolve," said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer at BT, according to ZDNet. "Every complex ecosystem allows new actors, whether on the good side or bad side, to displace old ones."
While many innovative document security initiatives will prove futile, digital access control solutions may be effective. Document rights management tools, for example, ensure that only authorized individuals have the ability to view or edit confidential resources, eliminating an outsider's power to jeopardize sensitive assets.
Executives also need to be aware of the evolving risk landscape, as this knowledge may give them an advantage in their battle against breaches. Companies should make sure to train employees to minimize the damage exposures can cause, according to Dark Reading, as this will make the entire organization more secure.
For a long time, businesses have acknowledged employees as security threats instead of assets. While this is sometimes the case in today's highly sophisticated cybersecurity landscape, it doesn't necessarily need to be.
A recent report by Dark Reading said decision-makers can implement advanced document protection training programs that make insiders more aware of security threats, thereby reducing the potential damage employees can cause during a breach.
"The status quo doesn't work," security expert Aaron Cohen said, according to Dark Reading. "People look at buying hundreds of firewalls but not spending the appropriate amount of money training their employees or making sure their employees know how to protect their assets."
Furthermore, a data breach should not necessarily mean death for an organization. Instead, executives should use the incidents as a learning experience to determine which document security solutions are the most effective at minimizing damage.
As the digital world evolves and introduces new threats, executives need to adapt and deploy robust strategies that keep confidential resources protected, as failing to do so will likely force the company to pay unnecessary fines or experience a tarnished reputation. By properly training individuals in how to keep sensitive assets safe, businesses will improve their odds of success.
Companies are often responsible for managing large volumes of documents containing sensitive customer information but are sometimes swamped with issues that make it difficult to meet privacy and security requirements. Some other businesses simply don't prioritize document protection strategies.
In a study of roughly 6,400 security executives, Edelman revealed that more than half of respondents think their organization does not consider securing personal customer information a priority. Another 62 percent said they do not have the appropriate tools to keep sensitive data safe.
"With the growing level of consumer, media and regulatory attention currently focused on privacy, businesses simply cannot afford to risk the reputational and financial damage that may result from a lack of attention to this business-critical need," said Ben Boyd, global chair of corporate practice at Edelman. "Rather, we see an opportunity for businesses to grow confidence and trust in their brands through thoughtful privacy and data management."
By deploying access control tools, for example, decision-makers can guarantee only authorized individuals have the ability to view confidential resources, mitigating major privacy and security concerns. Executives should also teach employees how to safely use sensitive assets to avoid potentially devastating breaches.