Protecting your clients’ data is critical for one very crucial reason: it is required for the sustainability of your organization.
The cybercrime industry is worth billions of dollars. Indeed, according to a recent estimate, hackers earn more than $1.5 trillion per year, which is equal to Russia’s GDP. In the digital arena, cybercriminals make money by breaking into networks and stealing data to resell or, in certain circumstances, hold hostage for ransom.
With cybercrime on the rise, protecting client data is more important than ever. As a marketer, you may believe that safeguarding consumer information is not your responsibility. This, contrary to popular assumption, could not be further from the truth.
Marketers have more control over the security of customer data than they realize. Even seemingly innocuous information such as an email address is considered client data and must be safeguarded. A cybercriminal may benefit from the information you acquire and preserve on your clients, and nearly every piece of information is useful.
As a result, you must implement additional protections to protect the information of your clients. It is far too important to rely just on the tools and processes you employ to protect your data, as these are likewise vulnerable.
Several recent security breaches exploited well-known security flaws. For example, the WannaCry ransomware attack took advantage of a vulnerability in the Windows security system that Microsoft was aware of and had addressed two months before the campaign began. On the other hand, many users preferred to postpone security updates, leaving themselves vulnerable to assault when the time came.
To protect your servers from harmful hacks and attacks, invest in the most recent security software, operating systems, and web browsers. Because out-of-date programs are more vulnerable to attack, updating a system regularly helps to boost its defenses against malware and viruses. It is also vital to use contemporary strategies to keep the company’s network and software secure. The protections in place can have a major impact on the company’s liability in the case of a security breach.
Encrypting User Data
Encryption is the process of encoding sensitive data so that it is unintelligible by anybody other than the intended recipient. Encryption is essential for protecting your clients’ data. This method protects data from both external and internal hackers. Consider getting an SSL Certificate to establish an encrypted link between your website and the client’s browser.
You should also use strong FTP passwords that do not include any of your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, or phone number. Additionally, to avoid abusing out-of-date software, ensure that all scripts, platforms, and programs are up to date. While protecting client information necessitates a wide range of technology, services, and policies, encrypting data at rest and in transit adds an extra degree of security against data breaches.
Today, two types of encryption are extensively used: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. The use of the same key for both encryption and decryption is referred to as symmetric encryption.
In symmetric encryption, the same key is used for encryption and decryption. As a result, it is critical to consider a secure method of exchanging the key between sender and recipient.
Asymmetric encryption employs the key pair idea, in which a single key is used for both encryption and decryption. One of the keys is typically referred to as the private key, while the other is the public key.
The private key remains under the control of the owner, while the public key is either shared with authorized recipients or made publicly available.
To decrypt data encrypted with the recipient’s public key, only the recipient’s private key can be used. As a result, data can be shared freely and without concern of unauthorized or criminal access.
Different encryption systems are classed based on the type of keys used, the length of the keys, and the size of the encrypted data blocks. Some of the most often used encryption methods in various encryption tools are as follows:
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a well-known standard algorithm used by the US government and other organizations. Although AES is extremely efficient when employing 128-bit keys, it may also be employed for more demanding encryption applications using 192- and 256-bit keys. AES is commonly thought to be immune to all attacks save brute force. Regardless, many internet security experts believe AES will become the de facto standard for private-sector data encryption in the future.
Triple DES is the successor algorithm to the Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was created in reaction to hackers discovering a technique to break DES. Symmetric encryption was historically the most often used symmetric technique in the business, albeit it is progressively being phased out. TripleDES uses the DES method to encrypt each data block three times and is commonly used to encode UNIX passwords and ATM PINs.
Another algorithm proposed to replace DES is Blowfish. This symmetric tool decrypts messages one at a time by breaking them down into 64-bit blocks. Blowfish has earned a reputation for speed, adaptability, and indestructibility. It is also free because it is in the public domain, which adds to its allure. Blowfish is commonly used to protect e-commerce platforms, payment systems, and password management solutions.
Blowfish’s heir apparent is Twofish. It is an asymmetric encryption technique that decrypts 128-bit data blocks and is royalty-free. Furthermore, regardless of the size of the key, Twofish always encrypts data in 16 rounds. Twofish is well-suited to both software and hardware environments, and it is commonly considered as one of the fastest implementations of its kind. A great majority of today’s file and folder encryption software solutions employ this method.
Rivest-Shamir-Adleman is an asymmetric cryptography approach based on factoring the product of two extremely large prime numbers. Only a user who is familiar with these two digits can decode the message correctly. Although RSA is commonly employed in digital signatures, it is slow when encrypting large volumes of data.
Control Access To Customer Information
Not every member of your marketing team needs access to all of the data you collect. Furthermore, not all of your employees may require the same amount of access to the technologies they use. Consider the following: Do your copywriters need the same information that your product marketing team does?
Your organization’s vulnerabilities are lowered by restricting data access. Each access point — the point at which a user physically logs into a data analytics platform — is a vulnerability.
If your online analytics platform has 25 user accounts, you have 25 points of failure. If one of those twenty-five accounts has a weak password, the entire system is vulnerable to a brute-force attack.
Furthermore, limiting staff access to customer data reduces the risk of internal data abuse. For example, say you need to fire an employee but don’t know which SaaS applications they use because they have access to so many. You restricted their use to ten tools, but one was left out. They return home and use their personal computer to use the tool, as the data is saved in the cloud. They are now free to do whatever they want with the data.
You would have had a better idea of which tools to eliminate if you had just restricted their access to the tools they required. So just inform your staff about the whys and hows of data, incorporating it into the onboarding process and revisiting it as needed.
Everyone who works for you should be knowledgeable about password security, detecting email frauds, reporting breaches, and maintaining physical devices. If you have a newsletter, the person in charge of distributing it must make certain that recipients have actively opted in.
Customer Authentication Protocols
Without user authentication, anonymous individuals cannot access sensitive data. A can see critical information from B but not sensitive information.
Cybercriminals can get access to a system and steal data if user authentication is not secure. Insecure user authentication has resulted in data breaches at companies such as Adobe, Equifax, and Yahoo. Hackers stole contacts, calendars, and emails from Yahoo accounts between 2012 and 2016. Equifax leaked credit card information for around 147 million consumers in 2017. Without a secure authentication process, any organization could be jeopardized.
Cybercriminals are constantly fine-tuning their attacks. As a result, security professionals are frequently faced with authentication challenges. Authentication is an important component of complex incident response strategies. These strategies are discussed further below.
1. Password authentication
Passwords are the most often used authentication method. Passwords can be made up of letters, numbers, and special characters. It is critical to protect oneself by employing strong passwords that cover all possible combinations. Password security is jeopardized by phishing assaults and poor password hygiene. Passwords are difficult to remember. Convenience frequently takes precedence over security. Passwords make it difficult to maintain online privacy. Hackers can quickly guess user credentials by attempting every possible combination. To mitigate this you can set up outbound call center services to send messages to your client for authentication.
2. Authentication by a combination of factors
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) is a type of authentication that needs a user to be identified in two or more different ways. Examples include codes generated by the user’s smartphone, Captcha tests, fingerprints, voice biometrics, and facial recognition.
Users gain trust by adding many layers of security to MFA authentication methods and technology. While MFA protects against the vast majority of account hacks, it does have significant limitations. Individuals may misplace their phones or SIM cards, making it impossible for them to generate an authentication code.
3. Certificate-based authentication
In certificate-based authentication techniques, digital certificates are used to identify individuals, machines, and devices. A digital certificate is a digital document that works in the same way that a driver’s license or passport does. The certificate contains the user’s digital identity, including a public key, as well as the digital signature of the certification authority. Only a certification authority can issue digital certificates, which authenticate the owner of a public key.
Users give their digital certificates when they log in to a server. The server validates the digital signature and the certificate authority. The server then uses cryptography to ensure that the user has the correct private key associated with the certificate.
Backing Up Your Data
Data stored on your local servers may be lost, mistakenly removed, or deliberately attacked. Create electronic copies of your clients’ key documents, data, and research and securely store them. Maintain multiple backup plans to guarantee that your work is secure, as appropriate for the data’s sensitivity (e.g., cloud storage, encrypted flash drive, external hard drive). You can retrieve your clients’ data from a backup if your local server becomes infected with ransomware or another sort of cyber threat.
Customers entrust you with their most personal information, from credit cards to Social Security numbers, and it is your responsibility to keep it secure. If you’ve never analyzed your data protection practices, or if you haven’t done so in a long time, the methods outlined above are an excellent place to start.
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