Data security risks are on the rise in the digitized world we live in. Showy examples of what happens when risk becomes a reality within large corporations are covered well by the media. Reading about the plight and consequences of these unfortunate organizations should bring about awareness to even the individual non-IT consumer. However, more often than not it leaves most people thinking, “That can’t happen to me. I’m pretty safe.” Think again. It can, and it’s time to prepare yourself to ensure you aren’t a victim. Smaller, personal data breaches happen more often. Technology is all around us and part of our everyday lives. There is no getting away from it so it’s better to understand it and the data security risks that come with using it.

Easy Target

Technology has made its way into our homes via digital thermostats, into our automobiles with touch screen computers and GPS trackers, new advances in augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, and now even the ability to pay at the register with your smartphone. Imagine a hacker gaining access to your car’s GPS, knowing your routes, routines, and where you live. That is not information you want getting out. With many people still using the same password for all their online accounts, private records become an easy target for modern-day sophisticated cybercriminals. Also, let’s not forget that most security breaches are never made public. In many cases, that means people whose information has been compromised don’t find out about it. The number of recorded data breach incidents in U.S. tracked since 2005 also hit a milestone of 5,029, involving more than 675 million estimated records.

ITRC 2014 Breach List - Security Risks

Source: ITRC 2014 Breach List

Network Security is No Longer Enough

According to Cisco’s 2015 Annual Security Report, network security is failing to keep up with new threat possibilities and security loopholes. Cisco pinpointed several security vulnerabilities that go beyond what a secure corporate network can protect. A notable threat is what Cisco calls “malvertising,” where malicious code is entered into fake online or app advertising, web browser add-ons, exploit kits embedded into legitimate websites, and other ways that are beyond the reach of enterprise network security. Though network security can successfully identify and defend against this code, with the popularity of BYOD policies and cloud sharing services, users and corporate data are more vulnerable.

The continued use of outdated technology and software puts users at a greater risk of getting viruses, malware, or being hacked/attacked. As technology advances, security provisions must also get better. Backdoors, loopholes, and gaps found in early models are often corrected in newer versions. As viruses and malware are being created to attack the ‘current’ version of software or hardware, the newest version, is being created and released to address the loopholes, gaps and backdoors that put users at risk.

ITRC Breach List - Security Risks

Source: ITRC 2014 Breach List

It’s Time for a Change

For many years cyber security professionals have been forced to deploy security infrastructures in a random patchwork approach, with a heavy emphasis on protecting the enterprise network from outside attackers. Unfortunately, in the case of a breach, the attackers gain relatively easy access to sensitive data within the network, exposing large amounts of sensitive data. As data itself represents the core of any business, data-centric security is gaining more momentum among security professionals. Staying up to date with technology is a good way to protect your data, however being proactive and utilizing software that applies protection directly to your data is best. Data-centric security solutions encrypt information itself at a file level both at-rest and in-motion, when data is being distributed to employees and partner organizations. Most importantly, even if hackers get access to the protected documents, they cannot “unlock” them to view in clear text. Data-centric security is the only way to ensure the most important asset of the business—the data—is protected.

Want to know more on why network security should no longer be your only defense method?

Check out our Slideshare: Why Perimeter Security is Failing