President & Chief Executive Officer, netsphere.
As enterprises embrace remote working models and adopt newer capabilities that are less well known, such as 5G, it is important for leaders to recognize and respond to the cybersecurity risks associated with entering the era of digitization and to make intellectual property vulnerable. In the past two years, a estimated 93% of the care organizations have had to deal with some kind of data breach. Cybercrime increased in 2021 by 600% as hackers take advantage of remote workers and create more sophisticated phishing emails, and the new year is forecast to see more threats than ever.
Everything is at stake if your organization’s security has weaknesses and lacks proper encryption across all communication platforms. As the world and the workplace continue to operate remotely and become more digital, security must become and remain a priority to protect important intellectual property (IP), data and communications.
Look within your organization to find (and address) the challenges.
The first step to protecting your organization’s intellectual property is to internally identify vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity efforts and properly train employees. Employees are the weakest link: 95% of cybersecurity breaches are the result of human error. It is difficult to prevent employees from downloading certain software or clicking on links, but it is the responsibility of the company’s executive leadership to equip the organization with the right tools and training needed to practice cybersecurity and be able to manage all IT safeguards and protocols live. Even with the right security parameters, investing time and resources in properly training your employees will pay off in the long run.
Not all encryption is created equal.
It is also up to business leaders to analyze the level of encryption the organization implements to keep communication channels secure. Do you use fully encrypted, secure messaging platforms? Is your data protected at every transfer point, including the cloud, web data transfer, Wi-Fi, LAN and more? By leveraging secure enterprise-level communications solutions, businesses can communicate responsibly and have greater peace of mind that their IP is protected across all digital platforms. (Full disclosure: My company offers these types of solutions, as do others.)
It is also important to note that there are different types of encryption, and they protect all data only to a certain extent. The term “coding” can be a host of myths and misunderstandings and it is vital that your IT department understands the various nuances. When talking about encryption, it’s important to understand the travel data needed to travel from sender to receiver. IT professionals need to be able to articulate (in data terms) how your data is encrypted, where it is encrypted (and decrypted), how it is sent, and where your data may be vulnerable during its journey.
End-to-end encryption is, in my opinion, the safest and most secure way to protect IP exchanged across communication channels without compromising compliance, as it secures communications at every checkpoint and reduces the number of parties that can access them. communication or hinder it. With this security level, only the communicating users can access and view the messages. User data is secured before the message is sent and is not decrypted until it arrives on the recipient’s device. This prevents the shared data from being accessed in the event of a server breach because nothing is decrypted on a server, only on a user’s device. Not many companies have adopted this more secure approach, but I think it’s only a matter of time before they are almost forced to implement tighter and more robust encryption.
One challenge leaders face when it comes to end-to-end encryption is how do we implement it without compromising the user experience? How do we continue to exchange data and information efficiently without jeopardizing security? Unfortunately, some applications work best when they are completely open in terms of encryption, which is usually not acceptable in the business world. As I said, there can be no weaknesses or entry points. So implementation is a challenge that many organizations may face when reassessing their encryption, but it is not impossible. These end-to-end encryption integrations work best when IT controls the entire ecosystem of the organization, so that’s something for business leaders to keep in mind as well.
Other types of encryption, more commonly used by organizations, such as encryption in transit and encryption at rest, can have vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to access data at multiple points in the transfer process. In the event of a server breach, attackers can view important and confidential IP shared across communication channels because transmitted data is available both on the device and on the server.
Main takeaway: Your company’s ability to fully master its IT platform and have the power to address issues in real-time is a key asset and first-line defense against cyber-attacks. Your company’s IT department has one overarching mandate: to implement the most secure levels of encryption and data protection to ensure that IP and other critical business assets are not vulnerable to attack.
Education is equally important and an important part when it comes to protecting IP. It is the responsibility of an organization’s leaders to properly and thoroughly educate employees about cybersecurity, phishing scams, and the importance (and drawbacks) of compliant communication. As we have seen in recent timesEmployees who violate IT security protocol and transfer sensitive data on non-compliant communication platforms can cost your company millions of dollars.
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