Data Security Threats That You Probably Keep Brightsiding

Best Practices
Digital Transformation
6 min read

Do we even realize how far we are, so overwhelmed with digital transformation and cloud adoption becoming supersonic? Loads of data within all levels of sensitivity are all around, in close reach. Inasmuch as it’s just great for data-driven analytics, it’s bad news for the majority of businesses, as threats to data security skyrocket by the minute.

In this article, I will lead you through the data security essentials in the ever-changing world of cyber threats.

A closer look at global data security threats

None, not even tech leaders like Apple and Twitter, is immune from harsh data breaches, as evidenced by 2022. What’s the most distressing is that keeping those cybersecurity incidents undisclosed remains a rule one within playbooks of a fair share of companies, from giants to SMEs. And this kind of reaction is priceless, and not in a good way.

Especially given the stats uncovering cyberattack cases within about a half of U.S. companies in 2022 alone. Rather than expecting hackers to attack giants exclusively, smaller firms and startups better watch out, as the cloud now is a communal residence. Meaning, while moving there, everyone risks getting compromised, regardless of their business scale.

As of 2015, the amount of data that required protection yet lacked security layers was 25% on the global scale, with expectations to grow to as high as 45% by 2025.

The last decade alone revealed a 24% decline of trust in the technology sector across the States, with 73% of respondents being concerned about information privacy. Meaning, people are increasingly aware that data security is not a given you don’t put a price on.

Though the stats on total number of data compromises across the U.S. in the year 2022 counts seemingly unimpressive 1802 cases, the data breaches behind them affected more than 422 million people. In the long run, forecasts on the global cybersecurity market evaluate its growth at $266.2B by 2027. Quite naturally, it all adds up.

What is data security all about?

Now let’s jump a little back to the definition of data security. In a nutshell, it’s the phenomenon that implies keeping data, either corporate or personal, safely untouched by unauthorized access or malicious attacks. Examples of destructive threats to data security span ransomware, leakage, and many kinds of modification and corruption. Similarly, data privacy risks are centered around breaking data confidentiality

As we’ve just put together what is data security, let’s get a bit more technical about the specifics of some explosive threats to data security. The landscape is pretty wild, and the selection I place here is nowhere near exhaustive. Thus, below I highlight the challenges we’ve found critical while suggesting measures on preventing or blunting potential crises for our clients.

Most common data security threats

Data security-focused regulation

Data security regulations

Think you have nothing to do with all those standards? Unfortunately, we’re all in this together, risking becoming another story for headlines. Not only does it concern the highly-regulated industries like healthcare, finance, and insurance, but pretty much every one, whether you process credit card data or not. That’s because standards like ADA, WCAG or GDPR enforce data and design accessibility and transparency on software level, universally.

With the introduction of KYC regulation and GDPR, the regulatory requirements are mushrooming, and the well-oiled lawsuit printer issues hundreds of prescripts a year, country to country. Meanwhile, struggling to introduce sufficient security measures puts organizations between a rock and a hard place.

As an alternative to the tiresome data examination routine, ask for trusted security experts’ help. Be ready to invest a good share of your attention to this matter – this takes a good chunk of time and effort, case to case.

Human factor

Among other examples of threats to data security, human error arguably rocks it. Typically, employees fall prey to phishing, which thrives today, coming in all forms and colors. Employee actions-associated risks are often denoted as insider threats, with self-explanatory subcategories of malicious, non-malicious, and compromised threats.

Trending in this regard, poor password policies. Even if you oblige employees to devise sophisticated variative combinations, one mostly opts for easier alternatives, usually slightly different from their previous ones, which is how you get unprotected accounts enabling easy access to sensitive data. 

So remember: imposing clear and stringent rules, strong authentication measures like OAuth, role-based access control, and zero trust security mechanisms is a must. Also, legal, IT, and HR departments should take care to establish and disable data privileges for employees and external contractors in nearly real time, as for a distressed person causing trouble may take minutes.

Data loss in the cloud

Apart from facilitating data exchange and collaboration, migration to the cloud increases data privacy risks, and thus takes precautions. Accidentally or intentionally, one can allow unauthorized access to personal files or devices over an unprotected network.

Just off the top of our heads, the solution would be to utilize cloud security technologies from the cloud providers like AWS and Azure, whose cloud services you might be using. To reinforce the effect, you may also try custom solutions, the way our clients do with application performance monitoring in the cloud. When the vendor’s offering is not enough, at Symfa we create custom application performance monitoring tools. Same applies to security.

SQL Injection

Aka SQLi, the injection is a common attack aimed at data fraud, causing all kinds of damage to databases, from sensitive information exposure to transfer of administrative access ownership. By adding ill-intended pieces of code to a user input, SQLi modifies the query’s context. Meaning, instead of processing a normal input, the database handles a malicious combination of symbols, thus causing a data breach. 

A surefire way to prevent the incidents is following secure coding practices while accepting user input. Another valuable precaution is protecting systems like MySQL, Oracle or SQL Server with database security tools that safely configure and support data infrastructures while averting cyberattacks, corruption, and misuse.

Multi-vector attacks & Crime-as-a-Service

Within recent several years, attackers have been reaching new heights at plotting increasingly sophisticated schemes while combining their forces, meaning multi-vector cyber attacks are gaining popularity. This kind of data security threats may incorporate a whole bunch of methods, from DDoS to ransomware and beyond.

And then there’s Crime-as-a-Service provided by cybercrime pros. Think of it as outsourcing where experienced attackers are vendors of their talent and tools meant for ransomware and malware injection, data fraud, and the like.

So, what’s our move? Well, besides the measures I’ve named above, we’d also suggest integrating endpoint protection platforms. To flag attacks or any kind of anomalies, they combine ML techniques with antivirus, thus detecting breaches and locking endpoints down in real time.

A point-of-arrival note

With the immense uncertainty across the data security threats’ horizons, the pressure on any enterprise dealing with digital will only get worse, and so will the regulations and cybercrime costs, which are projected to skyrocket to $10.5TN by 2025

A good place to start is evaluating and rethinking, if needed, your corporate security approach. Anytime you need help making first steps to major change, reach out — we’ll investigate your case with all of its specifics.

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