At every organization, but especially those with valuable or sensitive data, the risk of data exfiltration is a constant threat that needs to be addressed carefully. We’ve seen recently that even at the highest levels, the federal government isn’t immune to hacking or the effects of a social engineering attack. Threats from both within and outside your organization can and will target your data, so it’s critical to understand what they’re looking for and how to defend against the exfiltration of this data. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ways that data is exfiltrated from an organization.
Databases are the most vulnerable IT assets an organization can have, and it’s not hard to see why. If an insider or a hacker gains access to a database, they could scour it to find some of the most valuable information being held by your organization. Most privileged users work with at least one database every day, and these users will be the prime targets of social engineering attacks. In addition, because of their level of access, they can wreak significant havoc on your systems as insider threats themselves. It’s critical to have a plan for protecting your databases. User activity and data tracking, regular audits of access rights – these practices help your security team detect unusual activity and investigate before it turns into a potentially calamitous incident.
More and more organizations are turning to cloud computing solutions especially as the workspace has shifted to the home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Email, storage, applications – these tools are critical to the way we conduct business. However, sensitive data often travels via these channels and misuse and mistakes can happen. This makes cloud tools particularly effective for the exfiltration of data. To combat this, insider risk management teams need to double down on training employees and providing information on the security best practices when using these tools. Awareness can go a long way in protecting your organization.
While USB drives and CD-RWs have become somewhat obsolete owing to the growth of cloud storage, they are still in use at some organizations and need to be accounted for in your overall security plan. The USB drive in particular is one of the most common ways data is exfiltrated, whether the company bans their usage or not. Some organizations place hard locks on USB ports in company computers and direct users to cloud storage options which are more secure.
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