Modern field guide to security and privacy

Weaving security into the fabric of your business

Companies are becoming more aware of their digital risks but must educate and empower their employees to stay both secure and productive.

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor
Brett Hansen, Executive Director Dell Data Security Solutions and Michael Kaiser, Executive Director National Cybersecurity Alliance at the SXSW Passcode Booth, March 13, 2016.

It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a hot topic. From the data breaches impacting household names like Target and JP Morgan to the endless wave of fancifully-named malware variants, organizations need to place a greater emphasis on securing critical business data.

The good news is that the results from the recent Dell Data Security Survey show that organizations are not ignoring cybersecurity challenges. Of over 1300 business and IT decision makers surveyed globally, 75 percent believe that cybersecurity is a key focus for their C-Suite. This increased attention by top executives is important – but not sufficient to drive security as a business imperative throughout the entire organization.

Too many organizations still view security through as an add-on to its overall information technology infrastructure. With mobile and cloud solutions becoming more ubiquitous in the modern workplace, security solutions bolted-on after the fact are simply insufficient to protect sensitive business information.

So how can security professionals ensure that cybersecurity is integrated into the overall business plan?

Educate Employees

The Dell Data Security Report shows 25 percent of IT and business decision makers believe their executives are under-informed on cybersecurity issues. In order for cybersecurity to be integrated throughout the business, more education needs to be done so that it’s seen as a business imperative and not solely an IT concern.

A data breach can negatively impact a business well beyond simple IT or compliance concerns. Issues like loss of customer trust, corporate reputation, lawsuits and risk/insurance liability significantly impact the bottom line and day-to-day operations.

More importantly, education about best security practices needs to permeate the entire organization. The vast majority of breaches start with one endpoint. That means one employee opening an attachment that they shouldn’t or someone falling for a phishing scam. If all employees are better educated about the importance of cybersecurity, the chances of a breach will decline.

Secure the Data

In today’s mobile workforce, people are working on multiple devices – whether PCs, smartphones or tablets – and they’re also working from a variety of locations. According to the 2014 Dell Evolving Workforce Study, 64 percent of employees globally conduct at least some business at home after business hours. Given these new business realities, successful data security initiatives need to enable productive, mobile solutions – not restrict them.

The instinctual response to such realities can be to lock the data down and limit access. However, many employees just want to be productive, wherever they may be. So they employ work-arounds, whether using an unsecured device, unencrypted USB keys, personal email or public cloud providers, and in doing so open themselves and the corporate network to digital attacks.

Adoption of mobile and cloud solutions doesn’t mean a reduction of security if it’s done right. Employing the right solutions to secure data – knowing that it will travel – is the key here. That means securing the data at rest, on devices and in the cloud with the right access management and data encryption technologies. This gives employees the freedom to be productive while keeping the data secure.

As threats become more complex, and employees more mobile, ensuring that best security practices become ingrained throughout the organization will become increasingly important. It’s vital that all organizations give their security professionals a seat at the table so that we can all remain secure and productive.

Brett Hansen is Executive Director, Dell Data Security Solutions. In this role he is responsible for planning, defining and launching software for all Dell EUC devices. In his various roles, he is looking to transform Dell software capabilities to deliver differentiated Dell customer value.

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