04 Nov 3 Unlikely Ways Digital Transformation is a Huge Cybersecurity Risk to Your Organization
In a modern world that relies heavily on agility, connection, and collaboration. It seems like the digital transformation would be the perfect way to adapt to the modernizing world.
Unfortunately, here are 4 ways your digital transformation is a huge cybersecurity risk to your organization.
1. Cloud services are not as safe as you think
Cloud services like Dropbox, Office 365, and Google Drive are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. In a workplace that relies a lot on collaboration, the list of pros for cloud services are endless. Some of the more common pros include:
- Improved disaster recovery: With the help of cloud services, you’re able to backup some of the more important documents your organization needs. This could come useful in case a major security breach has occurred.
- Better security: According to RapidScale, 94% of businesses have experienced improved security after switching to cloud services. Whilst cloud services will not protect an organization from internal security theft and/or breaches, encryption does make protected information less accessible to potential hackers.
- Better collaboration: A large enterprise might find cloud services to be a lot more useful compared to smaller startups. With cloud services, individual team members can view and share information easily amongst one another on a specific cloud service platform (e.g. Google Docs).
- More affordable: Cloud services allow organizations to access a number of collaborative services for cheap. Instead of purchasing and installing various hardware, businesses will simply have to pay for a cloud service online and then download it to install. It cuts down the amount of manpower and downtime needed.
However, despite these cheery positives. Cloud services still pose a threat to organizations. A number of major companies have experienced breaches to their cloud data. Some popular names include Microsoft, Dropbox, Linkedin, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and Yahoo, to name a few.
Some of the more commonly known cyber threats associated with cloud computing include:
- Malware attacks
- Internal hackers
- Cloud service specific cyber threats: EDoS, a.k.a. Economic denial of sustainability is a form of DDoS attack. An EDoS attack exploits the features of a specific cloud service leading to a large cloud adopter bill. The cost could potentially be large enough to cause either a withdrawal or bankruptcy. Learn more about EDoS here.
- Shadow applications: Shadow applications are programs that have been installed onto a computer system without the user’s knowledge and consent. Often times, cloud services are being installed and used in a computer without the knowledge of the IT department. Therefore, no one is really responsible for investigating the origin of the application and whether or not the data stored in it will be encrypted. Or what happens to your data? Can you get it back?
So although cloud services makes the collaborative and the digital transformation easier. It is also a huge cybersecurity risk as there is a potential for the data to be redistributed to other unknown computers.
2. Chat applications might provide too much transparency
If you’re a millennial, chances are you’re no stranger to online chat rooms and chat applications. But applications such as Google Chats, WhatsApp, and Telegram are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. Don’t blame your team members, these apps are fast and they send everything the team needs immediately to one another.
However, when it comes to ease and free software, there’s always risks. Some of the more commonly known security threats to these chat applications include:
- The spread of malicious content: Thanks to the ease and the lack of awareness when it comes to chat applications. It makes it very easy for malicious files, images, and URLs to spread quickly.
It is also easier for user error to spread on messaging applications. Keep in mind that no matter how rigid a business policy is, or how strictly a security protocol is followed. There is still room for human error to occur. Apart from the spread of malicious content, there is also a potential for accidental disclosure.
- Lack end-to-end encryption: Depending on the type of chat application you’re using, some messaging apps do offer end to end encryption. However, there are other messaging apps that allow transparency to occur. Which means that some messaging apps allow employees an inside look into all the communication done by their employees.
However, the risks associated with chat and messaging apps can be significantly reduced with a proper protocol in place. Monitoring what employees can and cannot discuss on these chat apps also reduces the risk of a data breach. Additionally, listening to the advice of the IT department and following their advice can help reduce the risk of downloading and utilizing a scammy messaging app.
3. More data stored makes you a better target
In a world driven by revenue and profit, one of the main aims of digital transformation is to engage better with their customers. In fact, in a study conducted by MIT, companies that have embraced digital transformation are 26% more profitable than those who don’t.
Mobile apps and CRM systems are just some methods that companies use to engage with their customers. Unlike the days of yesteryear, customers today do not stay in one single channel. They shop online, save and share product images for their peer’s opinions, and even share feedback and ask questions on any social channel made available to them. All of which makes you a better target. Remember, customers who need to create profiles to access your storefront are allowing you to store valuable data.
Of course there are some preventative methods you can take to prevent a data breach. Some methods for you to protect valuable customer data include:
- Use strong passwords: Instead of creating simple to guess passwords, create long form passwords with little to no connection to you and your organization. Check out our blog post on strong passwords and better password protection here.
- Restrict access: One way to prevent internal data breaches is by simply restricting the amount of access an employee has. Set your programs and systems in a way where each employee only has access to whatever is relevant to their job. This also allows for easier accountability to take place in case a breach occurs, and allows you to control where the data travels to.
- Manage your data: Delete unused data from view to prevent it from being regurgitated. Store and keep unused data and files in a separate server to prevent any potential breaches from occurring.
At the end of the day, there are many risks and perks to digital transformation. What matters is having the support of a strong IT team that is capable of handling your organization’s digital transformation.
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