Stay ahead of the curve with strong data security

February 23, 20184 minute read

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The Matrix, The Italian Job, Mr. Robot, and Hackers—what do these movies and TV shows have in common? They all portray dramatic, romanticized versions of hackers and what they do. As with most popular media, the reality is much different. In today’s digital landscape, cybercrime and cyber attacks are accelerating rapidly, posing a threat to businesses and customers alike. Not a month goes by without news of the latest hack or data breach, each one seemingly bigger than the last.

Faced with this fact, the role of data security is changing, and society is impacting security policies in a number of notable ways. IT is tasked with thwarting known threats and anticipating how cybercrime will evolve to prevent attacks before they strike. Keeping customer and company data safe can feel like an insurmountable challenge—without the right tools and processes in place. Find out what you need to be aware of and how you can better protect your organization.

Lock your data security windows

There are many benefits to living in a world of always-on connectivity. Social forces, like mobilization and globalization, have made the world smaller and changed the way people work, but they’ve also complicated the security landscape. More internet-connected endpoint devices equal more vulnerabilities—and new security policies to address them. At the same time, cybercriminals are highly adaptable and continually transforming. Traditional security solutions aren’t enough.

In 2016—a record year for data breaches—a total of 4,149 reported breaches exposed 4.2 billion records. In 2017, the state of security was no better (think: WannaCry, Petya, and Equifax, just to name a few). The threat of a data breach is ever present, but some IT admins are stuck in the “security paradox,” where their company’s cybersecurity is up to date, but some of the infrastructure remains unsecured.

For example, endpoints, such as printers, are often underestimated and overlooked when securing an IT environment. A report from IDC revealed that “print security practices trail those of other endpoints at just 57 percent, compared to desktop/laptops at 97 percent and mobile devices at 77 percent.”

Many IT managers may not see these networked endpoints as significant threats, but these are the types of hidden vulnerabilities hackers love to exploit. Many security professionals focus their data security energy in certain areas, like mobile devices or cloud infrastructure, without addressing inconspicuous entry points. It’s like locking the doors to a house but leaving the ground-floor windows open. Security policies need to change.

Boost your security policies

Any organization that dismisses low-profile entry points as benign is putting itself at risk. What’s the solution? Adopting hardware and software solutions, like HP printers, that offer integrated, built-in security features is a big step in the right direction toward complete data security. HP’s printers can come equipped with continuous monitoring and unique self-healing security features—in other words, the devices are always on guard and can stop attacks before they start.

While mobile devices may be recognized as vulnerable entry points, many IT teams are struggling to balance mobile-enabled productivity with data security. This is why holistic security policies are key. A holistic approach to security considers each endpoint as a possible entry for a hacker and secures connections, regardless of where authorized users access the network or what device they use. Connecting devices to the network through secured linkage—including layers of authentication and encryption—safeguards data from threats.

User education and buy-in are also important. Technology solutions and security policies are only part of the answer because to be truly effective, employees need to adhere to the new protocols and understand what’s at risk. Technology can mitigate the risk of human error, but people must also follow best practices, such as using two-factor authentication, strong passwords, and knowing how to avoid phishing attacks.

These days, threats are coming from all angles—constantly. Layered, holistic security is needed to keep hackers at bay while also allowing workers to accomplish their tasks. With today’s decentralized workforce, endpoints can’t be ignored. To learn more about how to implement a proactive approach to data security in a changing world, check out this HP Security eBook.

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