The Benefits of Authentication for Business Security
While the hassles of the authentication process can be overwhelming for those looking to access specific accounts or data, the benefits of authentication for business security, employee security, and consumer security are strong.
Your employees likely have several passwords to remember as part of their digital lives. At some point their password creativity runs dry, or they don’t see the need to create multiple passwords for different accounts. They may overlook the need for online security, inadvertently laying the groundwork for cybercriminals.
Account authentication is another layer of added security against this outcome. It’s a way to protect company data from cybercriminals who may otherwise be able to access multiple accounts with one password. It’s also a safeguard against weak or recycled passwords.
There are other benefits to authentication as well, listed below.
5 Benefits of Authentication
Enhanced Data Security – Two-factor authentication drastically reduces the occurrence of data theft by involving a second device that the hacker would not have access to in the login process. The majority of security breaches are due to weak or recycled passwords, and authentication can lower this number.
Reduce Help Desk Tickets – Authentication can help streamline the workflow for the IT department. In many organizations, password resets involve the IT department. Either security personnel has to complete the task themselves, or employees involve them when they become confused by the process. Two-factor authentication can help reduce the need for this, and put data security safely back in the employees’ hands.
Added Security for Remote Work – Many businesses are relying heavily on remote work during the pandemic. This makes it harder to involve the IT department in the data security process.
Authentication can help ensure that employees are able to safely access much-needed data, reducing the threat of hackers gaining access to sensitive materials.
Prevent Identity Theft – Authentication works well to protect customer information as well. If cybercriminals are able to hack into customer accounts, it can be devastating to your company’s reputation. Authentication can help you guard against that. While Amazon’s two-factor authentication may seem tedious to some, it beats someone logging into your Amazon account to make unauthorized purchases.
Quick Process – While employees or customers may be slightly inconvenienced, the process does not take long. For two-factor authentication, it’s typically as simple as entering a code that is sent to a mobile device. This 30-second action can have a drastic impact on the safety of your data.
Protect Your Most Sensitive Data
As businesses are increasingly dependent on the data they collect, cybercriminal activity has been sharply on the rise over recent years. The benefits of authentication help to guard organizations and customers’ most sensitive data.
As companies gravitate more heavily to remote work, this trend will only accelerate. As far as data security measures are concerned, it’s pretty straight forward to implement.
If you find yourself in need of recovering sensitive data, contact We Recover Data today!
Common Industries at Risk for Data Breaches
The industries at risk for data breaches are varied. A hacker’s motives will likely determine why an industry, or a specific company is targeted. Understanding their motive and the information that they are after can help your company protect itself from these types of cybersecurity threats.
Some of the reasons that a hacker may attack include:
- Financial gain
- To gain knowledge of current activities through spying
The most frequently targeted industries each offer something for hackers in this respect. Below are some of the hackers’ most common targets.
Top Industries at Risk for Data Breaches
The Financial Industry
The financial industry is routinely a top target for hackers who are looking for financial gain. Banks, insurance companies, and wealth management companies are all at risk. A hacker may use web application attacks to force their way into the system. In a large company, millions of clients may be using the web app at any given time, making these attacks cumbersome, and difficult to track down.
In March of 2019, 2.4 million records from the Dow Jones were exposed. The incident highlighted the need for major organizations to look into vendor risk management. Some hackers may try a different approach. It could be as simple as installing skimmers or card traps on an ATM.
Higher education institutions often funnel money into building renovations and attracting potential new students. They’re focused on large academic projects and research development. Their singular focus in other directions can leave them susceptible to various cyberattacks. Ransomware poses a threat for colleges and universities. They need to develop strong IT departments capable of handling these types of threats in real-time.
K-12 schools are also at risk because hackers understand that there won’t be as strong of a cybersecurity presence there. They can serve as a training ground for hackers to learn how to access important records. K-12 schools often have outdated, less secure equipment. Malicious actors are able to break in and access student or teacher personal information, modify grades, or simply disrupt the system in any way they want.
Stolen medical records give hackers access to personal data that often leads to financial gain. They also lead to the ability to secure prescription drugs or gain unauthorized access to medical programs. These benefits can lead to strong incentives for cyberattacks.
Because the data storage programs used by healthcare companies can often be complex, unintentional leaks also occur frequently, which can also be damaging.
Retail is one of the top industries at risk for data breaches because it was unaccustomed to the need for cybersecurity. Many retailers have been slow to the need to adequately protect the sensitive customer information that they collect, such as credit card or even social security numbers.
As many as half of all US retailers have experienced a data breach within the last year, an alarming statistic that speaks to the frequency they are targeted.
Because of the sensitive nature of the personal information that is stolen, the attacks on big box retailers have become high profile and tend to draw attention to this issue. These cyberattacks can have a devastating effect on a retailer’s brand when they are mishandled.
There are many industries at risk for data breaches, for various reasons. With the ability to store vast amounts of data, come those who look to access it for malicious purposes. A more robust data protection effort can help to protect sensitive data and company infrastructures. If your organization has fallen victim to a cyberattack, it can be devastating to your organization and your reputation.
If you’ve lost access to sensitive data, you can contact us to help you regain access.
Data Security and Remote Learning
As more and more schools transition to a home-based approach, data security and remote learning will become increasingly intertwined. While a good move to keep people safe from the virus, this transition requires an increased effort in cybersecurity.
School districts across the nation are faced with similar data threats as the businesses that were forced into utilizing a remote workforce. Teachers and students alike will need to be educated on how to use remote learning technology safely. This could mean crash courses in everything from video conferencing software such as Zoom, to remote learning hardware devices, such as Chromebooks or other laptops.\
There’s also the safety of the main remote learning platform to consider, and any other software programs that might be utilized.
Data Security and Remote Learning: The Process is Moving Faster
For many school districts, remote learning may have been a long-term initiative, rather than an immediate objective. One-to-one programs, where a piece of technology would stay with the student, may have been rushed to accommodate the current reality.
But because of the nature of the pandemic, and remote learning becoming the only way for students to continue their education, the process was expedited. This rush is what makes data security and remote learning such important considerations.
In the midst of the recent stay-at-home flurry, many tech companies began to offer free or discounted subscriptions to their software. This opened the door for teachers to access it without the traditional district vetting processes that would typically involve the IT department. These programs may not follow the school’s typical student data security standards.
There are federal laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that districts need to adhere to, even as we rapidly shift to remote learning during this pandemic. When teachers make software and technology decisions independently of the district, there’s no check to ensure that these privacy and data security standards are being met.
While some states have clearing houses that will vet educational software for districts throughout the state, in others, each individual district is responsible for their own vetting. The process can typically take months to complete, depending on the size of the district and the resources they can allocate to the process.
On-Camera Security Concerns
While Zoom’s educational products meet federal regulations for children’s privacy laws, they’re other products do not. So a standard Zoom subscription may not be the quick answer for video access and remote learning.
Parents should also consider covering their child’s laptop camera as an added security precaution. There is a 2019 complaint against Zoom filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for activating users’ cameras, even when they’re not on the platform. It’s also a potentially dangerous target for hackers.
Data security and remote learning are extremely important. In the past, school districts have rightly acted in a slow and deliberate manner when it comes to technology, investigating their hardware and software options to ensure they meet state and federal laws.
The pandemic understandably created a sense of urgency when it comes to the implementation of remote learning. Even in these unprecedented times, the district is responsible for both students’ and teachers’ data security.
This means finding a way to vet software before it is implemented. It means arming users with common sense security measures, such as covering their cameras and overseeing the methods that teachers use for video conferencing. It’s important to make sure that safety is considered in all aspects.
If you’ve lost any sensitive data, contact us today!