Identifying Risks to Your Data Security

A data breach has the potential to cause reputation damage, financial ramifications, and legal liability. Any company with sensitive data or intellectual property must ensure their work is secure. Data security is an escalating issue for life sciences companies in particular: 40% of cyberattacks on life sciences companies reported to the media since 2017 took place in 2020 alone.

Biotech companies are vulnerable to attacks from criminals, hacktivists, and even each other, including industrial espionage, ransomware, and end-user attacks. If your company has not implemented key defenses against cyberattacks, it is crucial to contact an expert MSP such as Data Evolution to identify potential risks to your data security.

Risks to data security from attacks on end users

One necessary part of identifying risks to your data security is end-user awareness and training. Individuals within your organization may have access to sensitive information, so everyday end-user attacks pose a severe threat to your overall data security.

Password hygiene is critical in defending against end-user-targeted cyberattacks. Anything used on behalf of the organization should be protected with unique, complex passwords that are rotated regularly. If people in your company are using password managers, the master password should also be updated and rotated along with individual site and application passwords.

Examples of common scams

Educating end users on common cyber threats is another way to help them identify and counter threats to your data security. Here are a few examples of typical scams and risks:

  • Phishing: cybercriminals may pose as a reputable company to trick people into revealing sensitive information over email. Read the FTC guide to recognizing phishing scams.
  • Malware and ransomware: from delivering viruses or spyware through ordinary-looking emails to blocking access to systems until a fee is paid, malware and ransomware pose one of the biggest threats to companies today.
  • Financial fraud: similar to phishing, financial fraud emails may look like legitimate emails. Cybercriminals typically target individuals by posing as an important person in the company and asking them to wire money or make a purchase on their behalf. By the time the scam is detected, financial fraud often has already happened and is irreversible.

Most of the time, these scams successfully target educated individuals who simply do not have time or awareness to pay attention and identify the threat, such as noticing suspicious email addresses or distinguishing actual requests from similar-looking scams. Here at Data Evolution, we cannot overstate the importance of end-user awareness and education as an effective tool for identifying and avoiding this common risk to your data security.

What to do if you suspect or fall victim to a cyberattack

Since cyberattacks targeted to end users can happen frequently, every individual in your organization should know how to react and mitigate risks to your data security. This includes knowing what to do with a scam email, who to contact, which passwords to change, and more.

If you suspect that your passwords are vulnerable or compromised, there are websites and tools available to help you check. For example, Google’s Password Checkup feature allows you to see which passwords are synced to your account and if any were exposed. Make sure to use a reputable tool to check your passwords, as some hackers set up fake tools to harvest user data.

The best thing to do is call a reputable MSP, such as Data Evolution. Our experts can help you respond to a threat, identify which steps can be undone, and restore access or recover data where possible. Even if no disaster has occurred yet, you can work with Data Evolution specialists to put together an IT disaster recovery plan so you will be prepared if something happens.

Mitigating risks to data security through access control

Ideally, in an organization that deals with sensitive data and intellectual property, individuals should only have access to the specific resources they need to do their jobs. Role-based access control is based on tried-and-true, decades-old methodologies in the IT world that are still valid today and are regularly supplemented and updated with new knowledge.

Role-based access control allows you to classify data and grant or restrict privileges and access to resources, systems, and data. This can be arduous, as there is a limit to how granular you can get. Organizing your access control design by group instead of individual users according to the group’s business function and access needs can help make this process smoother.

Securing IT tech stack against risks to data security

When using a set of IT tools, it is critical to ensure your technology stack is as secure as possible from the start. This is the core of the valuable services Data Evolution provides to our clients. Our team is experienced in baking controls and mitigations into standard configurations and products or customizing white-glove solutions to deliver improved data security with speed and efficiency.

It is best to begin with a conversation with your MSP to evaluate your assets, determine what is vulnerable, and establish a tailored risk management solution. Data Evolution can enable custom configurations to provide as protected an experience as possible. However, we understand having this early detailed conversation is often not feasible due to time constraints and other factors.

We can help you deploy a set of solutions to establish security, antivirus, and other protective measures even without an initial conversation. Our experts can provide a standardized solution stack and configure tools out of the box to interact with each other efficiently and address the most prominent security threats. This is the minimum viable solution for any company.

As you can see, it is crucial to identify risks to your data security and take steps to protect your valuable intellectual property and sensitive data. Data security is particularly essential for life sciences companies, and the best way to take your data security seriously is to work with an MSP such as Data Evolution for a bespoke solution.

Our team of experts is dedicated to empowering our clients through conversation, education, and more. We offer a wide variety of options to help you get as secure as possible without exceeding your budget. Interested in learning more about identifying risks to your data security? Have a conversation with our experts to get started.