Data within an organization is often a sensitive topic. Companies don’t want competitors or even the general public to know their future plans. They don’t want leaks or breaches around upcoming devices, hardware or software that might still be in the works.
Thus, companies sometimes opt to keep their development pool tight and worry about data leaks coming from employees themselves. IT staffing services are an answer when new talent is necessary. That’s because these services can work only on the software or tools the company wants without the need for them to know everything that’s going on internally.
Modular Staffing Alleviates Internal Data Leaks
Data leaks, whether done by remote groups or on-site employees, can always occur. Businesses can safeguard security as best as they can, but the human factor will always be there. By using remote development teams combined with a core team of on-site developers, companies can safeguard some of their most sensitive data.
As employees only know certain aspects of the company’s data related to the workflow they are focusing on, they can’t leak or reveal it. Modular workflow and an increased specialization limit the employees’ access to all data. This, in turn, prevents massive leaks, even if an employee wishes to leak data intentionally.
Data that can be leaked can involve information about a company’s future plans, such as blueprints or documents showcasing product designs. It can also include technical files on released products that can be manufactured in foreign countries and sold as knockoffs. Leaks could also target something as simple as online cookies visitors choose to enable when visiting websites.
Transparent Data Practices Benefits Companies
Cookies are a form of data collecting that websites rely on to track their visitors to help them autofill in queries or login information when they visit again. Cookies are beneficial for visitors and websites alike but it’s important to make that clear to the public.
When companies are transparent with site visitors, these tend to be more loyal to the brand and there is less of a PR risk down the road. Those visitors are much more likely to enable cookies if they understand the reasons for doing so – including benefits for them and not just the site or web app requesting them.
The other aspect to consider when looking at data breaches is how faulty products sometimes are. Applications come with their own set of vulnerabilities that need to be fixed or patched up through updates to keep protection to a maximum. Companies should be transparent and release the information if a product has a vulnerability or defect susceptible to data loss whenever it finds such an issue.
They should do this before any major incidents occur and come up with a fix ASAP. Thus, customers will know the reasons they are downloading the software update. In other words, the company should make it clear that it doesn’t want to shoehorn features down their throats, but offer a beneficial fix to keep data secure.
When Sony failed to let their customers know of a Playstation Network data leak until after it occurred, the brand suffered a PR disaster. The 2011 data breach cost them millions of dollars to fix while the company tried to mitigate the disaster by issuing apologies. The leak caused 77 million customers to question their relationship with the company as many lost online access to their accounts during the time Sony was working on a fix.
Being transparent with customers and letting them know of vulnerabilities or leaks as they occur and not too long thereafter will alleviate companies from really bad press and customer complaints on a massive scale. It will also give customers a heads up to change their passwords and take the necessary measures for security issues.
Good Data Security Practices Should Keep Bad Actors at Bay
The risk many companies face is having an outside party snoop in on company data and gaining access to its systems. This is always a possibility, so brands should have various safeguards in place to prevent this from happening or make it as hard as possible.
One of the most obvious but sometimes neglected methods is using a strong firewall. Some companies may opt to have multiple firewalls set up that work alongside one another for stronger protection. Though at times multiple firewalls do not work together well, a good security expert should find good solutions internally.
Another layer of security to safeguard attacks from outside are virtual private networks (VPNs) or physical private networks (PPNs). These networks set up a private tunnel that prevents outside connections from gaining access to the data.
”The way a VPN works is by encrypting those packets at the originating point, often hiding not only the data but also the information about your originating IP address” according to ZDNet. “The VPN on your end then sends those packets to the VPN server at some destination point, decrypting that information.”
Companies who value their data security should also encourage employees to always use VPN when logging onto work services, no matter the device, location or WiFi network.
Other security layers include using the secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate within websites run by the company and request employees to always visit sites that use it – especially when logging onto them from company computers.
Websites that are accessed using an https tag in front of the URL are protected and encrypted with an SSL certificate. Without this certificate, information that flows between browser and server is not encrypted in any way and data leaks can occur.
Companies that operate outside Europe, or who service European customers, should also consider GDPR regulations (General Data Protection Regulation, for data protection and privacy in the European Union) before making their products or software available to the public. They need to consider customer rights under GDPR, be transparent with a disclaimer explaining these rights and follow general GDPR protocols. It’s especially important to do this before customers sign up en masse and their data starts being stored on their servers.
Data flow is no easy subject and has multiple aspects to it. From a company’s point of view, there’s a need to keep trade secrets from being leaked, but there is also customer data they need to be careful in safeguarding. Having technical protections in place is a must, but so is transparency and foresight in finding the best approaches to prevent data breaches and other exploits from occurring.