5 Data Security Questions You Should be Asking During the Pandemic

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The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has radically changed business. Not only has it altered customer behavior, upended business plans and disrupted supply chains, it also has moved work to the home.

An Owl Labs study found that roughly 70 percent of full-time employees now work from home in the U.S., at least temporarily.

This shift impacts corporate data security, because suddenly the volume of corporate data getting exchanged through public cloud services, travelling along unsecured home wi-fi networks and ending up on personal computing devices has increased significantly. And while some employees are seasoned telecommuters, for many this is the first time they’ve truly worked from home.

This is a recipe for disaster from a corporate data security perspective.

So while you’re re-adjusting business plans yet again and fine-tuning your Zoom skills, here are five important data security questions you should be asking as well.

1. Where is Our Data and Who Has Access to It?

Even before the pandemic, most businesses had a tough time tracking the location of all business data and who had access. This has only gotten worse with the influx of work from home and the breakdown in access controls. The chance for insecure business data has never been larger.

Cataloging and discovering the location of business data is essential for security. Cloud-based data security solutions such as Qostodian can help, locating all business data even if it resides on an employee device within the home, a consumer cloud service such as Google Drive, or a remote server.

2. What Data Requires the Most Protection?

The universe of corporate business data is vast, and includes everything from meeting confirmation emails and strategy plans to intellectual property documents and government-regulated customer data. Some of this data is just fine ending up on a computer that might be accessed by an employee’s 8-year-old son, but other data must be carefully protected during this season of work from home.

Classifying corporate data according to sensitivity is important for avoiding a catastrophic data leak during the pandemic. Solutions such as Qostodian can automatically catalog all data within an organization and intelligently assist with data classification so sensitive data gets the protection it deserves.

3. How are We Protecting Our Data During Work from Home?

When the majority of work took place within the office, there were systems in place for monitoring and protecting corporate data resources through on-premise security software and other means typical of pre-pandemic life. But the rules have changed during the pandemic, and most corporate data security architectures were not built for such wholesale work from home.

An entirely cloud-based, end-to-end data security solution is necessary for protecting corporate data assets in the age of Covid-19. Cloud solutions such as Qostodian seamlessly extend company data security into the home by monitoring digital assets even on personal devices and cloud services without compromising employee privacy.

4. Do We Have Real-Time Visibility?

Business data is created, moved and shared on an ongoing basis. Tracking and securing data therefore is not one and done. Ongoing data monitoring was important but challenging before the pandemic, but now it is both more challenging and more needed given the prevalence of remote work.

Real-time monitoring of all business data helps ensure that corporate data resources stay secure. Reducing compliance risk from regulated data and insecure customer records also requires real-time security monitoring. Automated, cloud-based security solutions such as Qostodian deliver this ongoing visibility by monitoring corporate data around the clock so security vulnerabilities can be addressed as they emerge.

5. How Do We Help Remote Employees Stay Secure?

The human factor is a key component of data security. By some estimates, more than 90 percent of all data breaches are the result of human error. While this weak link can never fully be removed, helping employees practice data security is much harder when workers are off-site and likely distracted by their 5-year-old’s request to watch Frozen again.

Automated, proactive security monitoring and risk assessment can help. Security solutions such as Qostodian anticipate and quantify hidden risks based on employee behavior. So even if remote employees engage in risky data practices, a business can take corrective steps to guide the employee in better security habits and keep sensitive data secure.

These questions are pressing during the pandemic, but they likely will be relevant even after the crisis has abated.

That’s because half of all workers surveyed by the Owl Labs study mentioned above report that after the pandemic they will only work for an employer who offers telecommute options. Remote work and the data security challenges it introduces are here to stay.

So if you’re looking for answers, now’s the time to consider your options. If you’d like to see Qostodian in action, schedule a demo.

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