Every January, privacy experts speculate about what the most popular new product of the year will be. Fancy new wearables? Powerful smartphones? Efficiency boosting apps?
But in 2020, the hottest commodity might just be privacy. Wave after wave of data breach, password hack, and information compromise has shifted the focus of consumers, tech giants, and government agencies to think about privacy before the fact — not after.
Problems continue to arise — but, thankfully, so do solutions. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration alerted health care providers, hospitals, and patients about a recently identified vulnerability in certain electronic health care data equipment made by General Electric. The flaw affects machines that monitor blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and patient status; most of these machines are typically located at a nurse’s station or other central location, making false alarms and patient monitor interference a serious problem.
The flip side of issues such as that is the way that major tech companies are finally trying to prove that they take privacy seriously. Apple executives have recently participated in roundtables with titles like “What Do Consumers Want?” Google announced an update to its voice assistant that allows users to erase their audio data. Amazon’s home security company Ring now lets users opt out of law enforcement’s requests for video footage. Even Facebook has implemented a prominent “Privacy Checkup” tool that walks USERS through each step of their privacy settings.
So what can you do to enhance your privacy in 2020?
Treat your data like the life of your business depends on it.
The fact of the matter is that your data is the most important asset your business holds. How long could you operate without your critical information? How quickly would you need it to be recovered to bounce back from a catastrophic event? Studies show that backup and disaster recovery is integral to business success Maintaining the security of your data is one thing, too — making sure it’s around to be kept safe is another. Without a redundant and repeatable process for regular data backups, you’re flying blind with your company’s most valuable asset. Backing up your data on a regular basis, then implementing recovery and virtualization plans in case of disaster, can provide 100% protection for your information.
Use caution with unsolicited emails and attachments.
Hackers can easily access your information (including usernames and passwords — the holy grail of social engineering attempts) through malware installed after a user opens an infected email attachment or clicks on a link that redirects to suspicious sites. The main takeaway here is straightforward: don’t click on any attachment or link included in an email unless you know and trust the sender or source and are expecting said attachment or link.
Take password management seriously.
This goes beyond simply creating strong and unique passwords that use a random mixture of upper-and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. It also includes smart management of the passwords you create: using multi-factor authentication whenever possible, employing a password management tool, and keeping track of social media accounts and email addresses (especially those you don’t use very often) for unusual activity. Training employees is important, too — the first line of security almost always lies with the people your business employs and the devices they use day in and day out.
Implement comprehensive network security.
CMIT Solutions’ philosophy on IT service is proactive, not reactive: we monitor our clients’ systems 24×7 so that we can identify, prevent, and resolve issues before they affect productivity, efficiency, and security, not after they’ve already incurred downtime. From firewalls to anti-virus, anti-spam, and anti-malware software to data encryption to content filtering and other targeted tools, we believe the “umbrella” approach gives businesses the best chance to stay secure.
Have a trusted IT partner help you conduct a cybersecurity assessment.
This inventory of information systems can help your business focus on the locations of and access to sensitive data. Then, a risk assessment can be performed to identify threats and vulnerabilities that are relevant to those specific data elements. User access reviews can ensure no former employees or bad actors are currently in your system — and that you’re not paying for access you’re not using. More importantly, such an assessment can allocate the correct access to the relevant data for the right people in your company.
If you’re in an industry like health care, legal, or financial, the smallest breach could have significant civil and criminal ramifications — and cost your company big money.
The latest Ponemon Data Breach report indicates that the average loss per compromised record for the technology industry was $165, while in financial services it was $245. In health care, the average cost of a compromised record was $380 — and that’s per record or person whose data is breached. Multiply that, say, by the 41 million accounts compromised in the Target data breach and you’ll understand why cyberinsurance is so important.
Comprehensive data security requires 110% effort, on the part of businesses, employees, and IT providers alike. That’s why CMIT Solutions protects everything from desktop and laptop computers to mobile devices and data storage drives to servers and network infrastructure. Your technology deserves the best, and we provide it.
Want to know more about cybersecurity and privacy? Contact CMIT Solutions today. We worry about IT so you don’t have to.