The spectre of cyber-crime now transcends many other threats, especially when it comes to the impact on business operations, reputation and financials. And, while the true extent of cyber-crime is unknown, it's estimated that there are roughly two major attacks on an organisation each day, according to experts at the National Cyber Security Centre. Evidence for this can be seen in the recent Deloitte cyber-attack that compromised confidential data, including emails from US Government agencies and large corporations.
The hack has dealt a serious blow to one of the world's Big Four accountancy and consulting firms – leaving them red-faced, as a substantial part of Deloitte's business focuses on cyber-security. Initial reports on the breach revealed that hackers had seized confidential emails and plans for some of its blue-chip clients. Furthermore, reports state that Deloitte failed to deploy elementary security measures of two-factor authentication as it was transitioning its email service.
Unfortunately, Deloitte is just one of many companies to have fallen victim to a data breach that could have been prevented by having simple measures that are standard security protocols in place. The bigger question that needs to be addressed is why so many companies are unable to or are having a challenge applying standard security measures? While it may seem obvious in today's data and digital-driven environments that every company must have adequate industry security standards in place when handling individuals' data, it is clear companies are challenged with keeping up with the needed security measures to keep their cloud and digital services secured. Most companies today rely on cloud and digital technologies to enhance their business operations, but there is a clear gap in companies being able to utilise these services and properly integrate security protocols that safeguards data being held and transacted across them.
To successfully fend off cyber-attackers, businesses must not only focus on the basics, but also must incorporate an innovative approach to security. Below are a couple of suggestions on how companies can change their approach, whilst still being able to integrate new digital services.
Embracing technologies for an innovative security approach
Finding a cyber-security solution that enhances data privacy will be key for future success in combatting cyber-attacks effectively. One method to achieve this is to leverage many of the recent technology advances and apply them to a security strategy in a new way that looks at securing the actual tools inside the network, not just monitoring activity in the network. For instance, the combination of the popular techniques of encryption and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to create an effective team in today's cyber-threat landscape.
With this approach, encrypting the data helps puts clear focus on securing the data, while the AI technology helps manage the data transaction process and cleans any unwanted traffic. In the event of an unauthorised user accessing data, the encryption and AI security functions would render that data unusable for that person. This combination is a good example of how leveraging the capabilities of different security methods can combine to put more emphasis on securing the data from within and securing all the activity inside the network, instead of just monitoring for unusual activity.
Balancing security and innovation
When considering a suitable solution to combat cyber-threats, it is also important to balance productivity amidst all this innovation. If well-protected data is inaccessible, then what is the point in storing it? The ability to access data and content securely from anywhere, whilst still fully encrypted with document-level encryption at rest and in transit for storage and sharing any device, is key to maintaining productivity levels within a business.
Another important piece to the puzzle is securely fostering innovation. Today's organisations require a level of flexibility to meet customers' mobile demands. As organisations start to rethink the way they secure their data, they must also take in to consideration how their customers want to interact with them. For example, many organisations today demand voice access to their data, rather than simply browsing services, to integrate with digitally connected lives both at work and home. Unfortunately, an increased threat of cyber-attacks often accompanies these voice-activated digital services. Fostering services such as an AI voice and messaging interface that delivers seamless and secure transaction of all incoming and outgoing customer data requests, in real-time without compromising performance, customer experience or customer accessibility is an example of such innovation. AI such as this allows companies to provide a safe and secure method to offer digital services to their connected customers and enable them 24/7 communication regarding their account information from any device.
As we move deeper into a digitally connected world and it is easier for hackers to capitalise on our reliance to technology, we see the current methods failing and so we must focus on basics but also come up with new, innovative ways to help combat this theft. The development of future cyber-security solutions must take in to consideration how to help companies minimise business risk without disruption to workflow or innovating secure digital products for their customers.
Contributed by Simon Bain, CEO of BOHH Labs
Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media or Haymarket Media.