How to Prevent External Access to Key Files

Transform Your User Management Processes with Tools4ever’s Cutting-Edge User Provisioning Solutions.

Uber, arguably the largest ride-sharing service worldwide, has suffered its fair share of data breaches. A few years ago, the company experienced a leak that exposed over 50 million clients’ personal information and data for over 7 million drivers. However, Uber’s story isn’t a singular case because nearly 2200 cyberattacks occur daily [1].

The “endless possibilities” the internet created have also made cyberattacks commonplace. Unfortunately, this leaves organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations, vulnerable to hacks, data breaches, and other unauthorized external access. Therefore, everyone must learn these steps to prevent external access to key files.

1. Keep Software Up to Date

As an organization grows, it may not always include software updates in the budget and expansion plans. However, a firm that utilizes outdated technology will likely suffer from increased security breaches. Corrective software maintenance helps identify system bugs, errors, and faults. It also takes steps to correct the issues.

Software updates typically address critical security vulnerabilities and include product enhancements. This means that each time you allow operating system and individual application updates to run, you experience improved software functionality while also addressing security issues like crashes, bugs, malware, and virus detection. In other words, regular software updates enhance data protection, cross-platform compatibility, and overall performance.

Many organizations find it easiest to allow automatic software updates or schedule times for mandated update rollouts over the network. This ensures that every device on your company network uses the latest version of every program installed on their machines.

2. Require Multifactor Authentication

Many platforms use knowledge-based security factors to limit access. These authentication factors typically use usernames, passwords, and personal security questions to limit access. Unfortunately, these widely-used authentication measures are fundamentally weak and easily compromised by skilled hackers.

You can secure your device and applications from unauthorized access through multifactor authentication methods. There are three main types of multifactor authentication: knowledge, possession, and inherence. Requiring these additional authentication measures after entering a username and password can limit the risk of unauthorized external access.

3. Encrypt Your Data

Encryption converts data using mathematical algorithms into an unreadable format. Therefore, the only way to decrypt the data is by using a key. This means that even if attackers conduct a successful data breach, they will not see any encrypted information. Because of this, data encryption is a great way to prevent external access to important files and sensitive information.

There are two types of data encryption: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. In asymmetric encryption, one key encrypts while the other decrypts. Inversely, symmetric encryption uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the data. Regardless of which method you use, any file encryption ensures files are safe while stored or transmitted between devices. Unless hackers can access the data and the encryption key, they will never be able to decrypt and read the data they tried to steal. It’s a relatively simple, inexpensive way to prevent unauthorized external access to files, including sensitive or personal information.

4. Limit User Access

One surefire way to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data is limiting access to those files as much as possible. This limits the number of doors an attacker can use and prevents accidental internal breaches. Limiting user access also helps organizations in healthcare and education meet compliance requirements.

User provisioning allows IT departments to create, manage and monitor access privileges. This involves the creation of different account levels based on each employee’s role and job requirements. This process, often called the Principle of Least Privilege, only gives people access to information required to perform their duties. This means that people in specific departments may have completely different provisioning than those in another department. Even two users who work together may have access to slightly different files based on their individual roles.

Even when user provisioning is in place, you can allow for some manual overrides if you find that specific users need access to files beyond the scope of what their role allows. However, limiting access as much as possible is important if you want to prevent data leaks.

5. Enhance Cloud Security

Cloud computing involves delivering computing resources through the internet. This includes software, analytics, databases, storage, and servers. Cloud computing can save organizations considerable amounts of money and makes collaboration between different offices or remote employees easy. But unfortunately, it can also leave teams at considerable risk when it comes to hacking and data breaches.

There are many things you can do to enhance security on the cloud. In addition to data encryption and user provisioning, organizations can enable API gateways, perform regular cloud monitoring, and establish clear identity and access management protocols that help restrict access.

6. Automate Offboarding

When it comes to security risks, many organizations fall short in handling employee offboarding when a team member leaves. While this process may be time-consuming and tedious, the risk of not offboarding an employee is even worse. When unused accounts remain active, they become easy targets for cyberattacks. They also leave the door open for disgruntled employees to take their frustrations out on the company by wreaking havoc inside the system.

When your firm approaches the process of offboarding manually, the chances of a human error occurring rise dramatically. What’s more, manual offboarding usually takes more time for the already extremely busy IT staff to complete, leaving those vulnerabilities exposed for even longer.

Automating offboarding enhances security and ensures that your former employees cannot access the network and cloud applications. It also ensures that all steps are completed in the offboarding process, including account deletion and access removal (deprovisioning). All you have to do is identify all the necessary parts of the offboarding workflow, then use an automation platform to handle all of the steps in the process.

When planning out your offboarding automation process, be sure you terminate or disable every account this departing employee accessed, both on-premise and in the cloud. You may also want to access the employee’s single sign-on account or a password manager to ensure that you account for any web-based applications or third-party platforms the employee used. Most of all, don’t forget to wipe any saved passwords across devices or shared platforms.

7. Safeguard Credentials

Enhancing personal data privacy regulations like CCPA and GDPR has led tech companies to embrace privacy by design regarding how firms design software and store data. While securing confidential and sensitive data is critical, individuals and firms should safeguard the credentials needed to access personal information. This helps to avoid, among others, password spraying, credential stuffing, brute force, and phishing. Often security and IT firms utilize IAM solutions to cure these problems.

These solutions ensure that the right people have access to appropriate IT resources, at the right time, for the right reasons. Password management allows individuals and firms to protect their credentials against unauthorized users. Password management is one of the top aspects of any firm’s security protocol. This has become extremely important to firms due to increased phishing frauds and brute-force attacks. Password management protects both users and firms from unauthorized access to confidential data.

Let Tools4ever Help

Undoubtedly, technology is the fastest-growing industry in the world. While this has occasioned numerous advantageous innovations, it has also created multiple vulnerabilities. Data security measures must always be addressed for businesses and individuals to protect themselves against security breaches. Any organization handling personal information must practice due diligence. Data security is essential for the successful management of a business. It provides clients with confidence and ensures the firm complies with legal requirements for data privacy.

One way of preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data is by using identity and access management tools offered by Tools4ever.

HelloID provides the entire IAM ecosystem, including user provisioning, single sign-on, and user lifecycle management, from a user-friendly, cloud-based dashboard. The system will work alongside many connectors and third-party applications, so you can easily integrate this IAM solution into your current setup. Furthermore, it’s scalable to work with small businesses or corporations with up to 30,000 users, meaning you can continue using our system as your organization expands.

Are you curious to learn how to secure your organization’s key files and turn your IAM tasks into seamless processes? Then, you can contact us to learn more about the wide variety of IAM solutions we have and see how they may work with the existing systems you have in place.

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