But first, what is Shadow Data? Shadow Data are sensitive and confidential content that users upload, store and share using the cloud, using shadow IT and even permitted applications. Employees can still do sinister behaviors if they want to, behaviors that expose the company they are working for to data risks. As more and more companies of today are shifting to the ‘cloud world’ and use products like Microsoft Office 365 for Business, they should make sure that all apps, sanctioned or unsanctioned, are secured, optimized and monitored.
To help maintain data oversight and reduce the risks posed by Shadow Data, IT Services Australia has provided 7 helpful tips for all business owners and company employees. Read on!
Encrypt Privileged Data at Rest
There are three methods for encrypting data at rest: full-disk encryption, file system encryption, and database encryption. Why is encrypting data at rest helpful in avoiding shadow data? First and foremost, encrypting data at rest protects the organization from any physical theft of the file system storage devices. It can also protect the organization from unauthorized access to data from any intruders that could break its storage subsystem.
Enterprise apps are Security Standards compliant
This is one of the common problem of an organization. They aren’t doing enough to ensure their approved apps meet standard security compliance set by SOC 2, a benchmark to gauge cloud app security. In order to meet security standards, businesses must set policy regarding to this matter on all vetted apps by the company. This also ensures employees and business owners that what they are using are credible and reliable.
Implement multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is something you know that you may have neglected. It is an added security feature for accounts like email and social media accounts. It may be location, time, context or biometrics. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations do not adopt MFA because they think that it is not necessary or just a waste of time if they are going to implement and use it. One way to better adopt or implement MFA is through leveraging biometrics. Adding it as an authentication factor is the best way to prove identity that it was really you, since fingerprints cannot be copied easily.
Maintain a unified catalog of corporate cloud apps
This is one of the key problems why IT departments continuously face shadow data; they lose track of all the apps they have approved and vetted. Without proper lapse, suspicious behavior such as anomalous downloads, can slip through the cracks. Through creating and maintaining a unified catalog of corporate cloud apps, IT leaders can maintain organizational scale that is a necessity to cloud app security.
Restriction of intentional and accidental sharing
Whether it is intentional or accidental, company leaders must always ensure security of file sharing for it may quickly compromise the security of business data contained with an approved app. They must carefully configure the sharing permissions to avoid any hacking intrusion or just ensuring the file sharing is kept to a minimum and inside the company’s network premises.
Oversee expedient deprovisioning
Identity management is essential in a network, because it provides employees with access and privileges and most importantly removing these when a certain employee departs. Deprovisioning departing employees means totally cutting ties with them, preventing company data corruption and exposure from possibly disgruntled former employee. Companies offboarding employees should be done properly and carefully, with some big help from your IT department.
Protect employee mobile devices
Last but not the least important, companies that allow employees to work using their mobile devices need to secure and protect these devices that would meet their security standards. Employing a mobile-specific Identity Access Management tool should really help to ensure the level of protection needed for mobile devices.