Businesses handle various types of valuable information such as customer data, financial information, and project files. These are considered to be digital assets because, just like a physical asset, they hold a certain value.
Digital asset security is crucial to your business success. While having a web app opens up a world of opportunities for your business, there are definitely some risks you need to consider.
If a hacker is able to steal valuable customer information from your site and it’s determined that you didn’t provide enough security features to prevent it, your business could be held liable.
Protecting your digital assets can also protect your company’s revenue stream and financial viability. Not all hackers are cyber thieves looking to steal your data; some are just chaotically evil. They’ll launch attacks that crash your website or network and bring your business to a complete halt.
This article will cover five methods you can employ to keep control over your documents and ensure that all of your digital assets remain secure.
1. Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management systems safely and securely store digital assets, along with important metadata. Metadata is information about a file such as regional specifics, name of the author/creator, and so on.
Companies have adopted shared network drives or cloud folder services, but these have a lot of limitations. For instance, using one folder with several thousand employees in different regions is not secure. When your company outgrows their cloud share, it’s time to move on.
Digital asset management software can store assets in a single location and make them available worldwide. It will improve your key cloud metrics for security.
Professional grade systems, such as Filestack, come with a content distribution network (CDN). A CDN keeps your files in decentralized buckets in different locations, so they’re immediately available to users everywhere. This is a marked improvement in security compared to files being disseminated and downloaded through cloud folders.
It can handle approval workflows, watermarking images, sharing files through a branded portal, and more. It harnesses sophisticated technology like cloud RPA and artificial intelligence to help you browse your digital assets with ease.
The internal centralization process creates a consolidated area for all digital assets to be stored. This way, separate departments have access to the same branded files and can send or retrieve files securely.
2. Data Backup
Performing a data backup refers to the action of copying files and information to a secondary location. The data backup process is critical to a successful disaster recovery plan.
Companies backup data they deem vulnerable to software or hardware malfunctions, data corruption, malicious hacking, user error, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events. Backups provide a means to restore destroyed, deleted, or overwritten files.
Backups can be stored locally on hard disk drives or magnetic tapes, remotely at another physical location, or remotely in cloud storage. This could be public, private, or a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Filestack can provide safe storage of your digital assets through the cloud in this way.
For many businesses, best practices include a full data backup once a week during off hours. Additional data backup jobs can be scheduled as necessary. Some may only backup new or changed data. Most enterprises use a combination of backup methods and technologies, as well as multiple backup copies, to ensure complete data security and availability.
3. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Passwords are everywhere. We use them to access our business VoIP software, our money, even our social lives. At first, we used one password for everything. But that wasn’t good enough, so we started making our passwords more complicated and began using password managers to organize the dozens of unique passwords we accrued.
Alas, no matter how complex our password system was, it was never enough to prevent an account takeover. All it took was one phishing email or database exploit, and your password was out in the world.
So if passwords are impossible to protect on your own, what do we do? That’s where two-factor authentication comes in.
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds a second method of identity verification to secure your accounts. The first method being your password, the added second method being something unique that you have, such as your phone or fingerprint. By combining your password with one of these factors, attackers can’t access your account even if they have your password.
The most common 2FA systems use a unique one time code with every login attempt. This code is tied to your account and generated by a token, smartphone, or sent to you by text message. The more modern and most secure form of 2FA uses a mobile app to send an approval notification to your smartphone or smartwatch for the least hassle possible.
2FA login systems for your web, mobile, or desktop application can increase security for your users and their data.
4. Data Encryption
Data is always at risk. It’s often most at risk while it is travelling over the web, otherwise known as being “in transit”. Data is also vulnerable when it is stored somewhere, also known as being “in rest”. There are several simple ways to protect your data.
Data is in transit when you, for example, upload files and images to website builders. It’s also in transit when you upload files to cloud storage. To protect data in transit you should encrypt it before it is transmitted. Authenticate the endpoints, then decrypt and verify it at its destination.
The basic tool for such encryption is HTTPS, also known as TLS 1.2 protocol. This protocol works by taking the message that you are planning to send and splitting its parts. It mixes these parts together using an algorithm driven by a public key. The protocol on the recipient’s side of the communication takes the encrypted message and unpacks it using a private key.
Data is in rest when it is kept on any kind of storage; in a cloud server, on a hard drive, on a flash drive, or anywhere else. To protect data in rest you have to employ security access policies. Control who can access the data, what data can be accessed, and where it is safe to be stored.
For web systems and applications, the best practice is to separate the user base and your digital assets. Communication between these two must be kept within the local network without exposure to the web. It is very important to encrypt the entire database in addition to encrypting fields containing user data.
Filestack uploads are both encoded and encrypted. Filestack encrypts data that is coming to and from the platform, even if the connection on the end-user side isn’t secure.
5. Educate Employees
Even if you follow all of the above advice, your digital assets could still be vulnerable to social engineering and human errors.
Experts such as eSecurity Planet highlight the need for employees to be educated about the risks that face your digital assets. This will greatly reduce the chances of a data breach. There are both physical and digital measures that your employees can take to prevent unauthorized people accessing your company.
The security of your digital assets can come under threat in the physical world when an attacker may try to gain access to your building by pretending to be an employee, visitor, or service personnel. If your employees see a person they don’t know without a badge, they should not hesitate to verify their identity.
Following a clean desk policy will also help reduce the risk of information theft, fraud, or a security breach caused by sensitive information being left in plain view. When leaving their desk, employees should be sure to lock their computer and put away sensitive documents.
They should also be vigilant when creating or disposing of paperwork such as purchase ordering documents, for example. Sometimes an attacker might look through your bins, hoping to discover useful information that may allow access to your network. Sensitive documents must never be disposed of in the wastepaper basket, they should always be shredded. Also ensure all printouts are picked up and not left at the printer.
Employees should be taught to carefully consider what information they put out onto the internet. Practically anything ever posted on the internet can be discovered by cyber criminals. What might seem like a harmless post could help an attacker prepare a targeted attack against your business.
Teach employees to not bite on phishing scams. Potential hackers might try to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and access to your other digital assets. Employees must be especially cautious of emails that come from unrecognized senders. They should never confirm personal or financial information over the internet. If they get a suspicious email they should forward it immediately to your IT security department without opening it.
Similarly, to prevent damage from viruses, email attachments should not be opened when they come from unknown senders. This also applies to plugging in USB devices from untrusted sources.
If employees follow these safeguards and report anything suspicious to your IT department right away, they will bolster the security of your digital asset management.
Use Filestack Workflows to scan and detect any infected content that an employee or user may be uploading to your company website or app.
About the author:
Sam O’Brien is the Director of Digital and Growth for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and call centre software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as G2 and HubSpot. Here is his LinkedIn.
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