Thales eSecurity Blog

National Day of Unplugging – how switching off can boost business security

Tina Stewart
Tina Stewart | VP, Global Market Strategy More About This Author >

Disconnecting from your mobile device, laptop or tablet can be as good as a holiday. Simply taking a pause from email and social media in favor of a good book or conversation is known to increase your mood and life satisfaction. But it’s also a chance to step back and re-evaluate our online usage.

In my family, we regularly ‘unplug’ and use the opportunity to discuss cyber awareness and topics such as the risks to our family information, how we can improve personal safety, and what are we doing to prevent identify theft.

While unplugging isn’t an option for business, the notion of stepping back to give your business the time to evaluate cybersecurity preparedness can be highly beneficial.

With increasing data breaches and unsuspecting users more vulnerable than ever before, cybersecurity situational awareness has never been more important. Yes, we have come a long way – evolving from knowing what websites are safe or not – but it’s time for a radicalized approach.

A new generation of workers is on its way in. They grew up with iPhones in their pockets and tech ready minds. They’re more digitally savvy than their older colleagues and already have a strong understanding of the importance of cybersecurity. Within an organization, they expect a high level of security and privacy – just the same as customers who assume that their data is being protected.

National Day of Unplugging (from sundown today Friday, March 6 to sundown tomorrow Saturday, March 7) gives us a chance to reassess how well we’re doing and what further steps businesses can take to better protect themselves, their employees and their customers against hackers.

1. Know the ‘where’ and ‘what’ of your data

Before implementing any long-term security strategy, CISOs must first conduct a data sweep. Discovering where all data is stored will not only help identify the types of data, but pinpoint where the most sensitive information is kept. It’s impossible to protect data if you don’t know where it is.

2. Protecting sensitive data is the key

The 2020 Thales Data Threat Report Global Edition found that no organization is immune from data security threats, with 49% of global respondents experiencing a breach at some point and 26% having been breached in the past year. Technology such as encryption will provide the last and most important layer of defense for data, rendering it useless if hackers break in. Whether it’s stored in a company’s own servers or the cloud – encryption must be used to protect sensitive data.

3. Secure encryption keys

Encrypting data creates an encryption key – a unique tool used to unlock the encrypted data, making it only accessible to those who have access to the key. Storing these keys safely is crucial and needs to be done offsite in hardware appliance to ensure they aren’t located in the same place as the data, putting both at risk.

4. Pass on passwords

The next step is to employ strong multi-factor authentication, ensuring authorized individuals can only access the data they have been allowed to access. Two-factor authentication requires an extra layer of information beyond simple user names and passwords. Multi-factor authentication takes this a step further by requiring additional piece of information such as a one-time passcode.

One of the most important lessons businesses should take away is that they need to foster greater conversations around safe cyber practices. An informed workforce is a smart workforce and essential to the security of businesses in cutting the risk of cyber intrusions. Empowering both our families and our organizations to be vigilant against threats and implement best security practices will go a long way in improving cybersecurity.