Modern businesses are fueled by technology. From tools that streamline customer payments to software that analyzes market trends, new technologies are being adopted across the board to help companies remain competitive. However, these new technologies can also expose sensitive data to cybersecurity threats.
Most new tools haven’t been fully tested for security and other weak points, making them vulnerable to hackers. Furthermore, such tools face unique threats such as functional errors, physical data loss, data leaks from mobile apps, and mistakes made by employees. This is why you need to take specific steps toward safeguarding your information when using new technologies.
Here are some useful strategies you can implement to prevent your innovative tools from turning into a cybersecurity nightmare.
Train employees accordingly
One of the most common causes of data breaches in new tech is employee mistakes. Your team of workers may inadvertently share sensitive data, fail to adhere to established protocols, or maliciously compromise the new technology as a form of grievance. For example, the FDIC data breach from 2016 was caused by a former employee who inadvertently transferred sensitive data to a personal device.
Training your employees on the critical role they play in data security is key to protecting your company’s information. Have a clear and detailed policy on how new projects should be handled, including procedures governing computer use, data access. Routine practices such as logging off company computers after use can help prevent a data breach during your new project.
Encrypt sensitive data
If your new technology will involve sensitive information (such as credit card numbers, customer addresses, and financial records), make sure this data is encrypted. Encrypted data can’t be read by a malicious source even after a data breach occurs. You can think of encryption as an additional step that keeps sensitive information safe from hackers.
Only keep what you need
When developing new tools/software, you may wish to work with as much data as possible. But broad repositories of data can be an asset as well as a liability. As you pilot your new software, keep only what is necessary for smooth functionality. Identify data streams that aren’t critical and eliminate them as soon as possible. In this way, you’ll reduce vulnerability to hacking and the consequences of a potential data breach.
Restrict access to new technologies during the pilot phase
When launching new digital tools for your business, restrict data access to only those who need it. You may be tempted to share as much information as possible with vendors, temporary workers, or even customers. However, restricting access is key to sealing loopholes and avoiding cybersecurity attacks.
Oversee the transition of employees from old to new systems
When you’re implementing a new system across the department or company, you should always have a detailed plan for facilitating a safe migration. Indeed, hackers often find loopholes during the piloting phase of new technologies. This problem is further compounded by employees who may not know how to navigate your new system. Such workers may opt to use un-secure channels (such as a personal email address instead of the new company platform).
You can prevent these transition weaknesses by supporting a smooth changeover. Start slowly and train all users on how to adopt the new technology. You should also encourage feedback via open communication channels. In this way, disgruntled employees can receive the support they need before compromising your networks.
Have an emergency recovery procedure in place
New technologies are inherently associated with risk. This is because the tools haven’t been tested before, and you can never predict with 100% certainty what will happen. While risk assessment is critical during the development phase, you should also have a full disaster recovery plan.
Consider your worst-case scenario and plan accordingly. For example, have backups of sensitive data stored offsite, purchase cybersecurity insurance to cover associated costs, and develop workflows for minimizing downtime after an attack.
Monitor device accessibility
A defining feature of new technologies is that they can be accessed from multiple devices. You may have a mobile app, tablet compatibility, and remote access with your new corporate tools.
Such convenience also comes with a cost, as hackers can access sensitive data when these devices are used across unsecured platforms. You can prevent accessibility threats by using two-factor authentication, anti-malware tools, tracking software, and even device hardware partitioning.
With the steps outlined above, businesses can get the best out of new technologies without compromising on sensitive data.