In a Year Like No Other, now is the Time to Consider the Future of Data Security

IT security teams continue to face a year like no other and the plot twists of 2020 are careening toward a cliffhanger that will push into the new year. Normally during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), we’re reflecting on the months gone by and beginning to make the customary predictions about new threats to data security, but the world looks quite different now. With the unprecedented number of remote workers, the pandemic and pursuit for a vaccine, and upcoming election, many organizations are consumed with the present and short-term cybersecurity. Now is a good time to remember that addressing the long-term security of data is key to building a future we can all trust.

This year’s theme, “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart”, encourages everyone to own their role in protecting cyberspace through personal accountability and by taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity. Data is germane to everything we’re experiencing because data has the power to impact outcomes. While NCSAM is a valuable moment in time when there’s a concerted effort between businesses and consumers to be safer and more secure online, every day is “awareness month” in the data security world. Those of us on the front line of defense never stop thinking about how we can secure data better.  

As we work together to create a more secure data ecosystem, this awareness must extend beyond October and transcend business as usual to deliver us to a point where cybersecurity isn’t a weak link in our chain of progress. Data security impacts everything and that’s not going to change.

Securing Data Today

The present and short-term future of cybersecurity rests heavily on the day-to-day best-practice activities employees engage in like multifactor authentication, using VPNs and secure file sharing. Nailing security fundamentals helps companies as they move to the cloud and work to support a distributed workforce more susceptible to risk. NSCAM, now in its 17th year, offers cybersecurity resources for IT and C-suite leadership to assist with prevention and incident response – key elements of a cybersecurity framework.

Three Tips to Build a Future We Can All Trust

  1. According to the 2020 Thales Data Threat Report-Global Edition, complexity is identified as the number one barrier to security. Most data security solutions remain specialized and siloed, forcing organizations to manage many systems and vendors. Lack of visibility and operational complexity is also preventing organizations from knowing where all of their sensitive data is stored, making it difficult to secure. While this obstacle is real, it is not insurmountable. By implementing one unified data protection solution that discovers, protects, and controls data wherever it resides, complexity can be solved.
  2. With a significant portion of the workforce still working remotely, robust network access control is paramount. Phishing scams and malware attacks are at an all-time high as cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities. Now is the time to implement effective data discovery solutions that enable IT teams to leverage granular access controls capable of protecting structured and unstructured data at rest and in transit. Through proper access management, the right user access can be given to the right resource, and at the right level of trust.
  3. The shortage of cybersecurity labor – warned about for the past decade – is an obstacle that’s becoming a worsening global crisis. Aggravating the problem is that women are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their educations, limiting their options to pursue cybersecurity as adults, according to several different studies. The private sector, governments, nonprofits, and professional and trade associations must work together to attract more women to this field because gender diversity in the workplace is vital to future innovation.
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