The Sky is Falling: Data Security Lessons from Chicken Little
The Sky is Falling: Data Security Lessons from Chicken Little

The sky is falling. We all remember the childhood story of Chicken Little. Mr. Little was hit on the head by a falling acorn and immediately suspected that the sky was falling, so he ran around town, sharing his fears with all his friends.

In fact, he got everyone so riled up about the threat of the falling sky that they became distracted, and walked blindly into the real danger – the den of Foxey Loxey.

Today, news headlines about data breaches are two-a-penny. “The sky is falling,” they say, “Cybercrime is inevitable. All your data is vulnerable.” This has two consequences:

  1. Your customers fear their data is not properly protected
  2. You fear that you are unable to prevent a data breach

 

But fear is a waste of energy. Instead we should redirect this energy and use it to implement clever strategies.

What if Mr. Little had used this approach? He might have examined his environment to monitor for evidence of a falling sky. He might have run some tests and discovered that falling acorns are creating chinks in his security fence. He might have monitored his neighbors see if any of their actions were creating conditions that may cause a falling sky. Most importantly, he might have discovered the fox in the henhouse.

When we think about data security, it is vital that we take a holistic view and make logical decisions, not fear-based decisions. The sky is not falling but there are a lot of foxes – rogue employees, advanced persistent threats, and lost and stolen devices – all major causes of data breaches. The good news is that these are all things that you can control.

The digital, mobile era has matured so quickly that data security strategy is barely keeping pace with the change. At the center of this transformation is the humble employee – who now has access to sensitive company data from any location, on any device of their choosing. Data is on the move and cybercriminals are taking advantage of this vulnerability. A recent Verizon study found that 71% of cybercriminals target user devices (Verizon 2014).

While this is worrisome, the sky is not falling. You are still in control. Follow these steps to foster a conscientious data security environment within your organization.

  1. Educate employees and transform them from being a potential point of weakness to your first line of defense against attack
  2. Conduct security audits and frequently test employees to keep security top-of-mind. Layer your security technology, securing the network and your endpoints
  3. Choose a persistent security technology that will act as a watchdog for your devices, data, and to ensure your other security technologies are working properly
  4. Share best practices with your business partners and suppliers to ensure that they don’t become compromised, inadvertently impacting your business
  5. Prepare an actionable crisis plan including a cybercrime playbook containing breach scenarios so that you are prepared to react to any incident quickly and mitigate the damage

 

For more information on how to implement these five key steps in your organization, read the Absolute Software whitepaper, The Enemy Within: Insiders are still the weakest link in your data security chain.

The sky is not falling. But there are plenty of foxes out there waiting to take advantage of your business and your data. The good news is that you are not a sitting duck. You are in control. Prove it.