Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
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Snooping by local and foreign hacker groups today pose the largest threat to businesses. The treasure they hold is data, and hackers are launching daily attacks to get to it. Commercial secrets are leaking out at an alarming rate. Businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk of data breach. The problem is businesses don’t have the budget needed to secure themselves. But a few in-house security practices and a simple OpenVPN setup can be a cost-effective solution to keeping information with independent economic value safe.
President Obama met with the heads of leading security and technology companies last March. They discussed cyber threats and how businesses could better secure themselves. Following the meeting, security companies urged businesses to put more effort into data security. Owing to budget constraints, most businesses failed to comply. Some of the larger businesses even proposed that the government take on the bulk of the expense. This is because the country’s economy can be seriously wounded by a single attack on a large company. Money is at the center of the issue, and security stands as cyber criminals continue to upgrade snooping technology and develop hacking skills.
But trade secrets are the lifeblood of any business. These simple bits of data are what give businesses the edge over their competitors. This is why hackers steal it to sell to the highest bidder. Once it is no longer a secret, it loses much of its value to you. These secrets can be simple business partnership and client lists, or unique product designs and business plans. And trade secret protection under law is only available for data that a business took care to keep secret. It then makes a lot of sense to make an effort to keep this data within the company. The practical solution for businesses of all types is to follow a few simple security protocols and secure their systems with a few simple tools like tracking and OpenVPN technology. Otherwise, you might as well draw a map for anyone interested in taking a peek at your secrets.
Business Data Protection Protocols
Security breaches are most often caused by employees releasing information into an untrusted environment. Part of this is disloyalty, the other part neglect. Symantec’s global “What’s Yours Is Mine” survey revealed that 50% of employees keep confidential business data after leaving their jobs and 40% plan to use it in their new jobs. Over 60% said it was not bad to keep work documents on unsecured personal devices and online storage services. And less than 50% of employers take action when they find out that proprietary or confidential information has been taken by an employee.
Check who has access to digitally stored information. Test how easy it is for them to take it. And make sure you can tell whether or not something has been copied, and by whom. Limit employee access to files that are best kept secret, and get IT to set up a monitoring system. If laptops are taken in and out of the office, limit this practice. If files can simply be transferred to cloud storage or a portable drive, get IT to fix it. There are many free and relatively cheap solutions for this.
Competitors and hackers for hire (including government initiatives) compose the rest of the threat. Symantec’s survey showed that less than 40% of business managers see data protection as a priority. They tend to delay the execution of security protocols. This contributes largely to the dramatically increased percentage of business data breaches year to year. Check all your software including your anti-virus and browsers, and check your firewall. Keep them updated to the latest versions and tweak the settings to limit access to only the most necessary users and applications.
OpenVPN Business Data Protection
Setting up simple OpenVPN access is the crowning glory of this very simple security plan. Set up OpenVPN on the now limited number of computers that have access to confidential data. A VPN can block a lot of threats at once. VPNs work to secure you by encrypting all data and traffic to and from your computers. The information travels through a private tunnel that cannot easily be accessed by unauthorized users. If Internet access is needed, OpenVPN can secure the data up to its destination. Some providers offer SSL encryption with certificate authority to verify the identity of the user on the receiving end before your data is passed on. OpenVPN is also very helpful in blocking malware threats. Combined with updated anti-virus, firewalls and browser security, you will have an affordable solution that will keep your business safe from snoopers.