Encryption: What Does It Mean to BYOE?

The cloud has opened up incredible opportunities and efficiencies for businesses. However, with these opportunities there is also an increase in security risks. How can you be sure your data is safe in the cloud?

Traditional ways of protecting data, such as passwords, firewalls, and other defensive strategies are no longer enough. For greater protection, encryption protects your data from being accessed by anyone without the corresponding key. Data that is encrypted with a key, can only be deciphered by the same key.

What are the benefits of Managed Security Services for your organisation?

Managed cloud services remove the need for organisations to perform many specialist functions in-house, providing access to essential digital services in a way that is cost-effective and convenient.

The downside is these services can leave a company’s data vulnerable to theft, tampering, or even seizure by government authorities and law enforcement agencies. As a data owner, you could then be subject to large fines, negative publicity and possible business collapse.

Encryption is the only way to protect your data. Data that has been encrypted is unreadable to those who are not authorised to access it. It also allows monitoring and reporting on who, or what, is accessing the data and when.

Third-Parties. What are the risks to your Data?

Over 600GB of unsecured customer data was discovered on an Amazon cloud database last month. The records belonged to approximately 4 million US Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers. The data, which had been set to allow public access, rather than limit access to administrators or authorised users, was discovered accidentally by a digital security company while investigating an unrelated breach.

According to a report published after the discovery, Broadsoft Inc, a third-party communications company engaged by TWC, are to blame for the breach.

Caught in a Trap? Beware Auto-Renewing Contracts

In the UK there are laws to protect consumers from unfair contract terms. However, commercial parties have less protection and are generally free to bind themselves to whatever terms without fear of court intervention.

As businesses outsource an increasing number of activities, it is important to fully understand what you are committing to when you sign a contract with a third party.

This is especially true for automatically renewable contracts. For some, they are convenient, ensuring services continue uninterrupted. For instance, if you forget to renew your web hosting and haven’t agreed to automatically renew or made other provisions, your website will likely go down when the contract expires. This could have a detrimental effect on your business. 

GDPR: A Cloud with a Silver Lining

Are there four letters presently capable of generating greater fear and anxiety for organisations around the world than GDPR?

The majority of conversations surrounding its imminent arrival strike a tone similar to the way citizens were prepared for nuclear Armageddon during the Cold War. With so much attention focused on potential doomsday scenarios, are we ignoring the positive aspects?

Reducing the cost of storing data

Before the digital era, organisations had a finite capacity for data storage. When the filing cabinet looked fit to burst, it was time to purge the documents that were no longer relevant or useful. As businesses transitioned from hard copies to digital copies, that element of housekeeping was often left behind, perhaps proving there’s truth to the saying, out of sight, out of mind.

The Usual Suspects? Nation State Cyber Attacks

Nation state sponsored cyber-attacks are growing in frequency, reach, and sophistication.

Within the previous year alone, a successful attack targeted the World Anti-Doping Agency, releasing the medical records of Olympic athletes from around the world. State sponsored hacking is also assumed to have played a role in the outcome of the US 2016 election, leading the US government to release a report detailing indicators of Russian involvement.

While countries have been conducting stealth attacks against each other for centuries, the digital era means these attacks can now be achieved remotely with technology.

Data Protection and Outsourcing

Outsourcing tasks and responsibilities is commonplace for many businesses today. Everything from administration and HR, to bookkeeping and IT can be outsourced to a third party, allowing you to focus fully on the core competencies of your business.

While this usually brings about benefits in terms of efficiency and cost, it can also cause serious problems and risks if the issue of data access is not properly considered.

Data: When is it personal?

Data protection is not fundamentally a data issue, but a human rights issue. As such, data protection legislations always relate to processing personal information.

To understand your legal data protection obligations, it is necessary to understand what is considered personal data. This is an area that can cause confusion. An individual’s name? That’s certainly personal information. But what about an email address? Or a photograph? Or an ID number that, when combined with other information you hold, could be used to identify someone?

A Personal Data Breach Story

Our director, Colin Tankard, recently identified a personal data breach in action when buying a new car.

In the process of buying the car, Colin received poor service from a main dealer and when he complained about this, he didn’t receive a response.

He did receive an email from the car manufacturer’s marketing team inviting him to complete an online survey about his experience and, like many surveys, offered the chance to be entered into a competition.

How Can You Protect Your Business Against Malware?

Ransomware, viruses, and malware. No business wants to find themselves victim of a cyber-attack. Often these malicious pieces of software enter the network via a backdoor attack, allowing cybercriminals to break into the infrastructure without being discovered.

Once inside the network, they can lay quiet for weeks or months before activating, making them even harder to detect. All the while it is moving around your network, seeking to find super-user credentials, elevate its privileges, and access vital data.

So how can you stop something you don’t even know about?