People are worried about their data. One report has the average U.S. company of 1000 employees or more spending $15 million a year on cybercrime prevention.
The only way that kind of money comes into play is if there’s a good reason to believe that critical company data is at risk.
And while cybercrime and data breaches are a hot topic, both in the boardroom and on the proverbial front page, the truth is that not many of us know how risky our online behavior, or that of our employees, can be. Should we all be wearing tinfoil hats and only accessing the internet through Tor? Or are there some data security fears and myths that have been a little bit exaggerated?
As you might expect, the answer is somewhere in between. Data security is certainly a concern. But at the same time, what you know about it may not all be true and where you spend your time and your resources may be somewhat misguided.
Keep reading for three examples of data security fears that may instill panic in you, but really shouldn’t.
Data Security is Still So New It’s Impossible to Do Well
Compared to the technology we had 20 or even 10 years ago, vast capabilities of the internet and data storage today are nearly unfathomable. When you look at the first cell phone compared to the smartphones of today, it’s easy to think that there is no way we can have security solutions for this technology that is changing so rapidly.
But this kind of thinking can not only be paralyzing, it’s also not very true. Yes, the technology we use today on a regular basis far outpaces anything our parents or grandparents could have imagined. But dealing with security and regulation issues for new technology is not, itself new. Each time a new type of technology -- from the telephone to the radio to the internet -- has been introduced, people have had to deal with security issues. As Wired recently wrote, for clues to better data security protocols and processes, “we can look to the examples of the most successful agencies in history, such as the Centers for Diseases Control, and what public health can teach us about the value of prevention, the merits of awareness and education, and trustworthy mechanisms of sharing information.”
For your business, this means that you should not feel paralyzed by the idea of data security or a data security policy nor should you refuse to leverage new technology because of unknown security concerns. Instead, be curious and cautious, keeping in mind that just because something is new to you does not mean that it is unknowable or impossible to secure.
The Best (Most Expensive) Technology is the Only Way to Mitigate Data Security Risks
Investing in reliable data security does tend to mean that you will have to invest -- time and capital. However, keeping your data safe is not simply a matter of spending as much as possible. Not only does this mindset make things quite expensive, but it can also be another fact that keeps too many companies from investing at all, assuming they will not be able to afford the security they need.
Much more valuable than the latest data security measure is the right mindset and a strong data security policy. If your company is thinking about data security and instilling the idea that every individual can and must do their part in keeping company data safe, you will be investing the most valuable resource you have: your time and your people. The sooner you build a culture that encourages security vigilance rather than fear-based decision making, the better off you will be.
There are an Endless Number of Cyberattacks Every Single Day
Cyberattacks and data breaches are woefully common. But the idea that millions of cybercriminals are constantly typing away to hack into your corporate network is misleading at best. The kind of reports that indicate numbers in the millions for daily attacks are taking into account many different types of attempts at cyber crime, the vast majority of which are detected long before they can do any damage. You hear about the big data breaches, like Target and Chase, because they are big and they achieve their goal. But the chances of your company ending up on the receiving end of a huge attack like that, particularly one that is successful, are not great. So while vigilance is essential, it is not useful to look out upon the cloud as a minefield of potential attacks.
You may have noticed that all of the above fears are based in anxiety. That if you were to buy into everything every article says about data security, you would naturally be paralyzed by the idea of making any changes to your company’s infrastructure. Of course, this would also leave you perilously behind your competitors. The truth is that data security is an issue that each and every company should be concerned with. The more data you collect, the more vulnerable you become. But it is also true that data security is not impossible to achieve. Rather, with the right partnerships and the right corporate mindset, you can ensure that your company is reasonably safe while still leveraging the latest technology that will help your business to grow.