October 24, 2016

IT Security Risks: 5 Big Challenges all Organisations Must Tackle

The IT department definitely has its hands full with hard drive security and other IT security risks and responsibilities. In the increasingly digital and connected workplace, it has to stay ahead of trends more than ever in order to mitigate security risks.

Here are 5 of the biggest IT security challenges:

1. Big Data must be protected

By 2020, global data will see a 50-fold increase, according to an article by Noah DMello on US site Cio.com. At the same time hard drives are predicted to grow only by a factor of 15. Are organisations ready to handle big data? Plus, where will data be stored?

2. Shadow IT can be risk of data breach

Increasingly employees and departments are managing information technology projects outside of and without the knowledge of the IT department. Also, an earlier Frost & Sullivan/Intel study showed that more than 80% of survey respondents used non-approved ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) applications (a third-party provider provides and hosts applications over the internet) on the job. These types of apps and storing business data outside of the organisation’s IT environment increase the risk of a data breach.

3. Cyber-crime: protect hard drives

Expect the size, severity and complexity of cyber threats to continue increasing this year, said Steve Durbin of the Information Security Forum. “2016 is probably the year of cyber risk.” Cyber-crime is increasingly more sophisticated and organised too. Experts recommend that organisations adopt a risk management approach to hard drive protection.

4. Cloud: secure enough for sensitive data?

US research firm Gartner reports that key challenges in cloud computing include environment (private, public or hybrid?) and security and privacy (when another company is running your computers, there need to be strategies to stay secure). A 2016 Intel Security survey found that just 13% of IT decision-makers completely trust public cloud providers to secure sensitive data.

5. Mobile, prime target for malicious actors

Smart phones and other mobile devices are creating a prime target for malicious actors in the Internet of Things (IoT), said Durbin in an idgconnect.com article. “The rapid uptake of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and the introduction of wearable technologies to the workplace, will increase an already high demand for mobile apps for work and home in the coming year.” But sacrificing security and testing for faster delivery and low cost will result in poor quality and easily-hacked mobile apps.

How to help mitigate IT security risks?
  • Utilise the latest IT safeguards including anti-virus software, firewalls, encryption, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Encourage information security best practices including good password practices; also, don’t open suspicious links or attachments to avoid phishing scams.
  • Evaluate and invest in proper training and development of IT administrators that are responsible for handling server and storage systems.
  • Implement strict mobile device security procedures.
  • Create a third-party policy so that security controls and compliance are shared responsibilities between the organisation and cloud service providers.
  • Back-up computers, and be prepared with a disaster recovery plan.
  • Do not stockpile hard drives, and properly destroy digital information when it is no longer needed. Partner with a shredding company for secure hard drive and electronic media destruction.

Another way to keep confidential information secure in the workplace is to monitor and proactively protect the physical workplace.