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You are the weakest link - goodbye!

By Peter Prouse, Business Development Manager, Infradata UK

Securing ourselves from security breaches that compromise either personal or business data is an ongoing challenge, and it is a commonly acknowledged truth that humans are the weakest link in the chain for a variety of reasons.

1. Lack of awareness and education of data security and the potential impact of data loss. If we aren’t aware of how we should secure our data and how others may attempt to tease/tear this away from us, we become vulnerable. Sometimes even good intentions can lead to a security event occurring - we may think that we are making life easier for our customers and partners by circumventing certain security precautions, but consider what else might be slipping through the back door with them.

2. Seeing is believing. Our natural tendency is to only accept/believe that something exists when we see proof, and if users aren’t told about the security breach that didn’t happen, how can they be expected to be alert to it? Bad news travels fast - and the man on the street only really acknowledges the gravity of a security breach after the fact.

3. Keep it SIMPLE! It’s fair to say that if something is too complicated or slow to use, the majority of us will either not use it or find an alternative route to achieve what we want. Which means that complex and cumbersome security solutions are likely to be compromised by the very people and organisations it is designed to protect.

While I’m not an expert in human behaviour, it seems to me for data security to improve we all need to change in our approach. This can be achieved through providing better awareness and education in protecting both personal and business data but also with simple yet effective processes and security solutions.

Any security solution needs to offer not only robust protection but also be easy to deploy and manage. It also needs to provide visibility, and do all of this quickly and without impeding the user experience. Finding the right balance of these features and characteristics is not always easy, and finding the right expertise is also a challenge given the widely acknowledged security skills shortage. Thus utilising the right experts and advisors to help you on this journey is key not only when finding the best solution for you and your organisation right now, but also to ensure that you keep pace with the ever changing threat landscape.

If your security vendors and partners don’t offer both proven experience and insight into how the security scene of the future is evolving, you may need to rethink who you trust with your most precious assets. Data is certainly one of them, but your people are equally as crucial - both in their attitudes and behaviours. There is no silver bullet when it comes to IT security, but it is possible to cover all your bases.

Peter Prouse - March 8 2017

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