Data Breaches: Keeping Documents Secure In The Digital Era

Keeping documents safe

Why your documents are under threat, and what you can do about it.

Not long ago, Credit Card details were the prime target of cyber attacks around the world.

Nowadays? Things are a little different. Data and information including board documents, medical records, and valuable intellectual property are an increasingly sought-after commodity. In this digital era, information is valuable. Very valuable.

If you don’t know why this should scare you, chances are you haven’t been paying attention. Boards, trusts, and enterprises are fast becoming the new hub of sensitive data, insider secrets, as well as confidential information.

Opportunists, insiders, or even state sponsored hackers have a new target in their sights: you.


Is it secret? Is it safe?

Working on sensitive documents

Dive a little deeper, and it’s easy to see why.

With a wealth of valuable information at its fingertips, your organisation, its executives, and even senior staff are now the prime target for a cyber attack. Managing Director of the Information Security Forum – Steve Durbin – talked to CIO’s Bob Violino in 2018 and had this to say on the topic:

“…it is no longer restricted to the boardroom. Personal assistants, systems admin staff, pretty much anyone who has the ability to provide access to the determined cyber criminal on the hunt for valuable information are now in play.”

This access to valuable data has cyber attackers knocking on your door, but it’s your insecure processes that leave it unlocked. How so? Many organisations rely on insecure digital solutions as they transition from a paper based world or, as is the case with many, remain in limbo between digital and analog.

It’s only a matter of time before these stop-gap solutions put your data at risk.

As we’ve discussed in the past, a cyber breach is a matter of “When”, rather than “If”. Could your organisation confidently say at this moment in time that it’s doing everything it reasonably can to protect clients and the data it has access to?


Your information, for sale to the highest bidder

Your sensitive files

The repercussions of a data breach can be catastrophic.

Recovering from the loss of valuable data as it’s destroyed, stolen, or sold to the highest bidder is difficult enough, let alone the potential financial and legal ramifications if it’s found you neglected your responsibility to keep this data safe. As highlighted below, those costs are only increasing:

Did you know?

  • In 2018, data breaches cost $654 Billion and exposed over 2.8 billion data records including usernames and passwords, banking information, and personal health info in the US alone (Source).
  • According to IBM the costs associated with a data breach have risen 12% over the last 5 years, now sitting at an average of $3.92 million (Source).

If you want to make it easy for attackers to access your valuable data, then by all means continue with business as usual. But if you’re serious about keeping data secure, it’s time to consider changing the way you do things and implementing a board management platform.


Three sensible strategies for staying secure

1. Stop sending sensitive information via email

Email is fast, familiar, and convenient. It’s also highly insecure. Despite what you write in the “To:” field, there’s no guarantee that the intended recipient is the only one who’ll be reading the message you send or, more importantly, the files you attach.

Giants of the industry like Yahoo and Gmail have both suffered massive breaches in the past, proving that even the most secure systems can fail. In order to keep data safe, you should switch to a board management platform that allows you to securely share files without leaving important documents sitting in email inboxes.

2. Use cloud based solutions that prioritise encryption

Not all cloud-based solutions are created equal. Services like DropBox or Google Drive make it easy to collaborate, store, and share files, but if recent security concerns and data breaches are anything to go by, they might not be as secure as you think.

They’re convenient. Sure. But they also provide limited functionality and control. Others? They fall back on weaker security protocols to ensure they’re not ‘getting in the way’ of the end-user. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Relying on these services as your ‘digital’ solution is a case of one step forward, two steps back. Instead? Look for specialised solutions that prioritise multi-level security protocols and AES 256-Bit Encryption, as well as keep files hidden to those without access to the platform.

3. Strictly monitor the use of personal devices

It isn’t uncommon for time-poor staff or board members to take their work home with them. Trouble is, the work and home environment are completely different from a cyber security perspective. One is strictly monitored by your IT staff, while the other uses insecure connections, outdated systems, and is at a greater risk of phishing, malware, or viruses.

If you can’t live without out-of-office access, then you need to switch to a solution that allows users to access and work on documents safe in the knowledge you can instantly revoke access if devices are lost, stolen, or compromised.


The right board management platform makes keeping documents safe, simple

Over the years, Stellar has found that few board management platforms are able to tick all of the boxes, let alone the few we’ve outlined above today. This leaves many organisations having to compromise in order to get their work done.

With the right solution, though? Stellar has seen countless organisations finally able to operate with complete confidence, taking advantage of the anytime, anywhere promise of the cloud while being able to share files away from insecure channels.

It’s the best way to keep data safe from the ever-increasing range of cyber-security threats

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