How To Protect Data From Insider Threats During Lockdown

8/3/2020



 

When we discuss data breaches, most of us will automatically think of hackers and Malware as the main causes, but more and more cases of data breaches are being put down to insider threats, with some reports estimating that as many as 60% of all security breaches involve insider negligence. One of the biggest brands to report such a breach was retail giant Wal-Mart, which is now facing a lawsuit for allegedly violating CCPA regulations.  

 

According to privacy regulations such as PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA, organizations need to ensure that sensitive customer data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and account numbers, are protected across the organization – including non-production environments and remote desktops. This is especially true during the current disruption caused by COVID-19, with scattered teams working from home and operations moving to the cloud. 

 

Data masking can help you control the flow of data in your business, and ensure that everyone who handles data in your business is only able to access the data they are authorized to view. Data masking replaces sensitive values like credit card numbers, with realistic, false values, safeguarding it from misuse and data breaches. 


How data is exposed in non-production environments

 

In the global disruption that followed COVID-19, businesses have more digital stacks, storage banks, and remote teams than ever.  And that extends to third parties such as contractors, vendors, and partner businesses like insurance companies. This complex network of channels has increased the risk for breaches and made controlling the flow of data more difficult. 

 

The same complexities occur within the organization, increasing the risk of insider misuse and negligence.  

 

For developers, it is standard practice to replicate production data for testing purposes in non-production environments – often multiple times. And for a developer working from home, saving a database to a desktop is a very real possibility. They could also unknowingly share a database with a new colleague during a training exercise, or forward a database to a third party not authorized to view it. Mobile devices go missing. 

 

While data privacy laws like HIPAA require sensitive data to be completely protected, in this disruptive reality, non-production environments can often fall outside the range of protection protocols. In an uncontrolled environment, it’s all too easy for valuable data to fall into the wrong hands.

 

It is now more important than ever to ensure that a data protection solution like data masking is integrated into the full production lifecycle to control the flow of sensitive data in non-production environments and prevent insider threats – even unintentional ones. 

 

Data masking secures data in non-production environments

 

Because data masking is a one-way method of data protection, once masked the data cannot be reverted to its original format. This is especially useful in non-production environments like training exercises, testing, staging environments, and quality assurance activities. 

 

This is not to imply that your employees have malicious intentions. Say one of your remote developers had to rush out for an emergency and their home was broken into and their computer stolen. By masking all data, you have ensured that any sensitive data on that machine cannot be used for illegal purposes, saving you millions in a potential data breach. 

 

Data masking effectively anonymizes data in databases, files, messages, in-memory during runtime, in text, on-premises, and in the cloud. For this reason, it is trusted by industries ranging from health and finance to education and government to protect against internal threats, and to safely exchange data with third parties.

 

Especially now, with the majority of staff working from home, data masking should form part of your full development lifecycle. You can’t afford for it not to be. 

 

HushHush data masking software is a trusted and easily-integrable solution for protecting sensitive data in non-production environments and meeting your compliance needs.

 

Request your free demo now. 


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