Throughout the information technology realm, the threat of cyberattacks may seem so imminent that a share of chief information officers may have generally accepted that hackers will attempt to infiltrate their networks at some point or another. While this assumption could be scary to a number of companies, IT professionals who are on their game know that employing the right tools and enforcing proper protocol when handling the sophisticated tech solutions they have on hand makes all the difference. Although there is no way to stop cyberattacks before they start, there are plenty of preventative measures that CIOs can use to their advantage so that that they can effectively thwart any hacking attempts.
Nowadays, there is a wide array of reasons that companies can be susceptible to cyberattacks. With the recent Heartbleed scandal, even organizations that were doing everything else right in terms of data protection, which made them think they were securing their systems, were actually just as vulnerable as any other business. Fortunately, by following certain guidelines, tech teams could bring their protective practices to a whole new level, patching any holes that the bug may have left, in addition to fending off all other cyberthreats.
Department of Defense warns about Heartbleed dangers
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there are numerous types of information that could be up for grabs due to the glitch caused by Heartbleed. This bug, which was the result of a coding error, makes encryption efforts completely invalid. Consequently, private, supposedly secure servers are not actually protected, and unauthorized users can easily snatch all kinds of data. Everything from clients’ financial account information to emails sent between employees is at risk.
The agency explained that even though developers have come up with the software necessary to resolve the issue, the mass adoption of the Heartbleed-infected programs makes the cleanup a tedious process rather than a quick fix. Little by little, IT professionals are addressing the problem and making changes to portions of servers impacted by this bug, but that means it may be a while until everything is adequately protected once again.
For this reason, the DOD advised that companies’ tech teams check their own websites to see if they are still affected, as well as external ones they use to support their operations. IT professionals will want to ensure that their banks’ sites, email and even social media accounts have been modified so that none of their information is unprotected on these outside pages.
Target sensitive areas first
After taking all of this into account, CIOs may feel inspired to continue their security measures by refining their organizations’ internal IT. As one may imagine, hackers have countless options when it comes to the portions of networks that they could access. Thinking about this may make tech executives feel overwhelmed, as they could start compiling a lengthy list of what to tackle. To be most efficient, though, CIO Magazine explained that these professionals would be best off if they were to pinpoint the most likely targets that would be ideal for cyberthieves. By identifying these problem areas, tech staffs can then prioritize their protection, guaranteeing they tackle the most sensitive portions prior to moving onto less pressing parts.
The source advised that companies rank types of data in terms of their confidentiality. For instance, CIOs should consider the kinds of data that could be of financial value. This means that they need to secure bank account and credit card information, but also types that would aid in identity theft, such as employees’ social security numbers. Once they identify these especially sensitive issues, it may behoove them to consolidate all of the solutions and files that deal with this type of data, implementing extra safeguards on this portion of their networks so they can have complete control over who can access this information.
At the same time, they can group other types of data together based on the degree of sensitivity that these files contain. Less confidential information, such as mundane messages among staff members, still needs some sort of protection, but it does not require extreme measures. By separating data of different levels of confidentiality, IT executives can allocate their resources accordingly, which will allow them to keep everything appropriately protected but without exerting unneeded effort.