Implementing multiple layers of security is the common thread for today’s data security strategies. The layered approach has worked in some cases. However, other companies have still become vulnerable to hackers. In fact, numerous large global enterprises with significant technology budgets have fallen victim to hackers. It may make you wonder just how realistic it is to feel secure that your data is truly protected.

The good news is that technology continues to progress. Some of today’s best and brightest minds are working diligently on new approaches to data security. Here are some of the latest approaches to feel secure with your company’s data in 2018:

1. Strategic IT Consulting

IT consulting companies have been a valuable ally for updating your business processes and undertaking important strategies such as digital transformation. Bringing in an outside expert like a strategic IT consulting firm can help you uncover vulnerabilities that might have been right in front of you all along. These experts can point out what you couldn’t see or didn’t realize was a pathway to data vulnerability.

For example, iCorps Technologies works with companies to leverage technology to make them more efficient, mobile, productive, and agile. According to Jeffery Lauria, vice president of technology at iCorps, “The threat landscape is far beyond what anyone can really imagine. Gone are the days of sitting your staff in front of their computer for a cybersecurity education session and expecting to be protected. Today’s data privacy and data security regulations demand that businesses have a provider that is providing them defense-in-depth solutions and implementing technology safeguards, such as Advanced Threat Protection, managed firewalls, and more. These will keep them protected at all levels. Also, ensure there is a data backup and disaster recovery plan to recover if a breach or attack does happen.”

As part of working with a strategic IT consulting firm on data security, the first step is a security assessment. Then, a customized security strategy will tackle specific issues and suggest security technology implementation. IT consulting firms can also help with security vulnerabilities related to mobile, compliance, and remote access.

2. Email Errors

The average corporate email user clicks “Send” over 100 times a day. Yet data that comes from emails may not get the attention it deserves and thus can become an easy target. There are so many common email mistakes that create vulnerabilities. For example, a Goldman Sachs contractor inadvertently sent a message to a gmail.com email address rather than the corresponding gs.com email address. Within the email, there was a confidential document full of proprietary and sensitive data. Goldman Sachs went to court to get Google to prevent the gmail.com recipient from opening it. The company even asked whether Google would help it prevent a data breach.

In its annual Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon cited these types of miscellaneous errors as partly to blame for data breaches. Incorrect recipients have received sensitive information due to user mistakes, while other email errors include publishing of nonpublic data to public web servers and insecure personal and medical data disposal.

The solution for these miscellaneous errors is to incorporate some automated programs. These include identity management software, password management tools, and network access rules. Furthermore, training is key for your team members so that they understand how to use a prevention strategy so these email errors don’t happen. Such a strategy should include checklists, procedures and process flows, and disciplinary measures when mistakes occur.

3. Email Encryption Solutions

Email encryption is a security measure that prevents the theft of confidential data within an email system. That’s because the encryption makes it too difficult to decipher the data and not worth the criminal’s time. The longer it takes to break the encryption, the less likely a criminal will stick around to figure it out.

By encrypting email, you increase data security, but the security tools must be easy to use and manage. Zix is one company that provides a comprehensive email encryption solution for greater data security that your entire team can learn and implement quickly.

David Wagner, CEO of Zix, explains, “Security tools that create obstacles, slow down workflows, and frustrate end users are bound to foster workarounds that can compromise data, resulting in hefty fees, long-term penalties, and public scorn for a company. Thus, organizations, especially in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance, need to figure out how far users are prepared to go — realistically and in their daily efforts — to support a cybersecurity strategy. They can then implement solutions that foreground ease of use inasmuch as they do protection, because the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive objectives.”

4. Confidence in the Cloud

Privacy issues and hacking are the largest barriers to cloud adoption, according to Forrester. However, with more hacking into on-site data storage systems, organizations need to consider the increased security that the cloud offers, making it more worthwhile to store information off-site.

In addition, emerging regulatory frameworks mean that companies do not have to manage security on their own. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, is a set of strict requirements that direct how businesses and organizations should handle their customers’ data. Implementation of these safeguards will enable organizations to feel more comfortable about data security.

Final Thoughts

Finally, being secure with your data means leveraging a proactive approach rather than reactively addressing any data breaches. You can be proactive through continual education, testing and analysis, and adoption of the latest technologies. It also helps to arm yourself with technology consultants who come with their own skill sets and provide a formidable line of defense to keep data safe.

Peter Daisyme