Are You Putting Your Company’s Data at Risk?
In the digital age, data is often a company’s most valuable asset. Did you know that, through seemingly innocent actions, you may be putting your company’s precious data at risk without even realising it?
The importance of protecting data
Take a moment to think about how your company operates. There is a good chance that computer software, online systems, and data storage tools will be the first things that spring to mind. Huge amounts of data, including some of the most important and sensitive corporate information, are now stored digitally. Data leaks and cybercrime pose major threats: if data ends up in the wrong hands, then there could be devastating consequences.
This is why companies are spending more on IT security than ever before, but often, unintended data leaks from employees pose a bigger challenge than any cybercriminal attacks.
How could you be putting your company’s data at risk?
As an employee, you may be putting sensitive data in a place that falls outside the boundaries of your company’s IT security systems, where the wrong people may be able to access it. Here are some ways you may be doing this:
Cloud storage services: Services such as Dropbox offer users an easy and convenient way of sharing files, and often this file-sharing takes place outside the boundaries of a company’s IT security. There is always a risk when you share sensitive data via the cloud with parties outside the company, as you never know where it may end up.
USB sticks, external hard drives, and compact discs: Have you ever used a USB stick or CD to store documents or photographs from your work computer? IT staff are normally uneasy about allowing this, and for good reason. Any sensitive information that leaves the company poses a risk. So when you do need to store or transfer information using an external device, you should ensure that you do at least the following:
- Keep the information away from prying eyes.
- Where possible, password-protect the storage device (or the sensitive files on the device).
- Keep the device in a safe place, and don’t leave it unattended in a place where others could access it.
- Delete the information from the device once you no longer need it.
Mobile phones: Like many modern-day employees, you probably use your phone for work-related activities. This steers you away from the security network and antivirus systems that are in place at work. This increases the risk of leaking data, particularly when you are using third-party mobile applications to store or share sensitive information.
Social media: Information that you share through social media channels is unprotected. With the proliferation of social media, users are publicly sharing more information about their lives than ever before, sometimes including details of their work. Some of this information could be used maliciously by your company’s competitors, or could even provide hackers with the ammunition they need to conduct cyberattacks.
The bottom line…
The next time you’re working with your company’s data, be cautious about how you use it and where (and with whom) you share it, and think about what the ramifications could be. As far as possible, you should only use systems and programs that are approved and/or protected by your company.
Don’t only do it for the wellbeing of your company, but for yourself too, because if you’re found to be responsible for a data leak, then your own job could well be in jeopardy.
Start learning more about data security with Oxbridge Academy’s computer courses.