Security has been and always will be important to humans. At the deepest level, all humans have an innate desire for security and protection and this desire now extends to our digital footprint. Data has become the most valuable resource in the world and its value is now greater even than that of gold and oil. Like the criminals of the past, cybercriminals today are ready to crack the “lock” and gain access to your data. So, the key to making your data security nearly impenetrable requires two things: strong encryption (the vault) and a cryptographically secure key. Interestingly, According to a report, the no. 1 global barrier to digital transformation is data privacy and security concerns.
Over the last decade, the largest evolution in the “key” is the movement away from passwords alone. Weak and reused passwords are the least secure “keys.” Having a strong “key” is important, but the way one protects that key is just as important. In the digital world, we hide these keys in hardware, inaccessible to operating system (OS)-level software. Having hardware-level security combined with a strong access control system is essential to keep digital secrets secure. Along with protecting your “key”, it is important to also verify the same. Protecting with strong algorithms, detecting if there is any malicious activity or corruption and responding through remediation and forensics provide the cornerstones to a robust security solution.
We are playing a game of cat and mouse with cybercriminals and although we have yet to create the “unpickable” lock, physically or digitally, there are ways that organizations can stay ahead of attackers:
- Practice good password hygiene: Never use the same password twice and leverage a password manager. An easy way to keep your password secure is to re-issue a new password on a regular basis. If you update your password on a regular basis, it will likely be less damaging if it is lost or stolen, because by the time a criminal is likely to use it, the lock already changed.
- Use multifactor authentication and digital certificates: Augment your user authentication system to embrace biometrics and secure tokens. Protect your data using secure certificates and access verification.
- Educate your workforce: The weakest link in a company’s cybersecurity armor often isn’t their hardware or software, but instead their own employees. If employees are uneducated on how to identify threats, they are leaving the door unlocked or worse, opening it themselves. Deploying regular cybersecurity trainings for employees will help them more confidently navigate threats and keep company data secure.
- Never settle: Organizations should constantly re-evaluate their security strategy to ensure it is up to date with the current cybersecurity landscape. They should also deploy an end-to-end security solution that protects devices both above and below the OS and communicates with other parts of the system to ensure all data is locked away. Make sure these tools are user-friendly and do not hinder a user’s productivity.
Looking forward, I have no doubt we will see the digital “lock and key” continue to evolve but so will the tactics of the cybercriminals. A solid foundation in the form of a secure platform and additional measures such as encrypted communication and robust access control systems coupled with user education is a must to protect data in today’s day. Things will be different in the future, but by applying existing security principles and lessons from history in a much more thoughtful way, we can stay one step ahead.