Going digital has huge benefits. The ability to reduce physical storage holding paper files, easy retrieval of records by search and scanning, big data crunching and extraction, and electronic storage of years of information provides invaluable benefits. However, it also all comes with a very risky Achilles Heel – data loss. The risk can happen in any number of ways, but many times it’s either an internal cause or an accident. So, if the right steps are taken, a simple digital data loss can wipe out what took decades to build or millions of dollars to convert to digital form. Fortunately, data loss is preventable as well.
Modern Threats Grow
Intentional attacks to win or lockup data have matured over time and become far more damaging. Original attacks simply focused on either outright damage or fiddling with records (i.e. the high school kid changing his classroom grades). Today, companies are dealing with direct efforts to grab large amounts of data, either for leverage or for outright theft. Various forms of phishing, malware, ransomware, server control hacking, and viruses are all being designed for data loss effects. Yet some only issues still are in effective play as well. Employee threats still contribute to major data loss problems stemming from sabotage, password compromise, local data repositories, and poor office security.
Human Behavior Is the New Defense Target
Data loss prevention controls are intended to stop disasters from occurring before they actually get started. Unfortunately, most traditional systems look for big, dramatic attacks. And that’s not how most modern attacks happen. They are subtle, mundane, and typically boring in nature. New approach focus on the human factor for what tends to more of the exposed areas that occur thanks to poor human judgment. This can be identified with behavior pattern recognition and how users interact with data files, repositories, and communication. The concept is not science fiction fantasy. Don’t want sensitive personal information to leave a server? It can be recognized easily by data type, characteristics, and field type. Frustrated with people download images and videos? Simple file types make easy flagging. These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of perimeter barriers that can be erected digitally.
It’s Not a Matter of If, But When
A data loss incident will happen to any company, business, organization, or system eventually. It can range from hardware failure to intentional attacks. Regardless of the reason, having solid data loss prevention plans and resources in place that anticipate modern risks and threats will go a long way in nipping the problem before it grows and becomes seriously damaging. Data will keep growing and significant losses are not tolerable anymore with just backup protections. Everything from privacy penalties to competition secrets is at stake now. Thus, every step of data handling has to be proactively protected, not just the storage alone.