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Most Common IT Security Risks Faced By Companies

by Amanda Walters

We live in the digital age—for people, for businesses, it's a world of huge opportunity, but there are many threats out there as well. By now we should all hopefully know that if we receive an email from a member of an African royal family asking for our help in moving some of his cash into a safe UK account that it's unlikely we'll ever see a penny for our trouble, and we know the importance of not creating passwords out of our children's names.

Here are some of the most pressing issues for IT departments today:

The Cloud

Over the last few years many business-critical services have begun to move into the Cloud—it's rightly viewed as far more secure way of storing data than on in-house servers. But there are still risks involved—this is new technology that is still developing, and relatively few people have a full understanding of it. Businesses with a lot of important data that they want to place in the Cloud may see an advantage in using a specialist company, such as McLaren Software to assist with their migration plans, to ensure things run smoothly.

Loss of data

With the rise of Big Data, we're seeing businesses collect and retain huge volumes of information, often about their own customers. There are many ways that this data can be misused—stolen by criminal gangs, appropriated by ruthless competitors or disgruntled former (or current) employees, or just straight-up carelessness such as leaving a USB stick lying around.

When news hits the headlines that people's credit card details, phone numbers or email addresses, have gone missing, it causes a massive dent in corporate reputation. See for example the recent theft of data of 70 million customers from US chain Target in this article here, which has inspired several lawsuits already. Cybercrime extends to money, and secrets too, both corporate and government. The importance of keeping information secure can't be overstated.

Increased Mobility

With smartphones now becoming commonplace, it's unsurprising that many people want to use them for business purposes as well as personal. This makes security for IT departments even more of a challenge—they have to protect their own network and data whilst at the same time not infringing on people's personal information.

Hacktivism

Hacktivists, either individuals or co-ordinated groups, will often target companies and organisations whose views or activities don't correspond with their own. The Anonymous group has made big headlines in recent years with their strategy of DDoS attacks on on institutions as varied as the Church of Scientology, Sony, and the US government. Although in most cases the impact is fairly minimal, often amounting to little more than a website going offline for a few hours, or a distorted homepage, these incidents can cause embarrassment and significant brand reputational damage.

A Compromised Web

Businesses should assume that few places on the Internet are safe. There are all manner of websites and banner ads that can infect a user's computer with malware, which can then go on to rapidly infect every computer in the company. This kind of attack can sometimes go undetected for years, causing significant harm.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

 

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Monday, 18 Dec 2017 07:42 AM

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