10th November 2020: In the age of remote working, virtual platforms and work-stream collaborative platforms have gained massive popularity. This new work from home model or rather work from anywhere model, has accelerated the adoption of several digital tools among the industries, the most important being cloud computing. Open network that can make the data easily accessible for all employees is the need of the hour. And to make the business secure and seamless, organisations today are heavily investing in cloud computing technologies.

Cloud networks are generally open and easily accessible, making them the most vulnerable for data breaches at the same time. Cyber criminals too, are getting more sophisticated and smarter with their attacks, under the guise of the covid19 crisis, and targetting firms with large chains of networks. With cloud networks, data always remains in motion and perpetually prone to an attack. Hence, with cloud computing, arises the overwhelming need for data security. While various sectors are transitioning to remote working, they also need to take into account the importance and effective implementation of data security – protecting the company’s as well as their consumers’ personal and confidential information.

According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020 by IBM, the average total cost of a data breach in 2020 amounts to a whopping $3.86 M. Among the type of data lost/leaked, customer PII data has the highest cost per record, approximately $150. A survey to study the dynamics of the data security landscape said that 70% of respondents said that remote work would increase the cost of a data breach, indicating the high risks of data breaches on virtual platforms and with weaker or security solutions.

Mr. Filip Cotfas, Head India

In order to prevent such costly data breaches, companies need to implement a complex DLP solution that protects both data at rest and in motion.

To understand a bit further, let’s take a look at the top 5 sectors that have the greatest demand for data security and the reason behind it –

1. BFSI – Banking, Financial Services and Insurance sector

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the data collected and processed on a daily basis, by the banking and fintech sector, they are subjected to maximum of the data breaches and cyber attacks. Today, with the integration of technology, we have seen the popularisation of digital tools in the BFSI sector like online payment apps and net banking among others. All consumers records and financial data can be easily accessed with the mere availability/ hacking of a passcode.

As a consequence, this sector is one of the most heavily regulated organizations when it comes to data protection, with both international standards and national laws legislating the way financial information is collected, stored and processed.

2. IT

IT departments, in particular, have felt the pressure of having to implement company-wide remote work strategies. These can come with particular challenges in the tech sector where employees often use specialized software, multiple operating systems and regularly process massive amounts of sensitive data.

As more smart technology is being created, added with the rollout of 5G network, there will be increased interconnectivity, and at the same time, high vulnerability.

3. Healthcare

Collected in high volume and often stored in weak security systems, the health data has become a popular target for cyber attacks. Health information is also one of the most sensitive and important data that needs strict security systems and data breach protocols. The rise in attacks have escalated after the onset of the covid pandemic. Attackers want to target the weakness of these companies, knowing that it would be especially devastating in the current time period. They also target healthcare workers and well as common people by orchestrating phishing emails under the names of legitimate medical or government organisations.

But most of the healthcare companies are often not equipped with the right data security tools to tackle with these strategised attacks. Hence, a concerning need for data security in the healthcare sector has become very apparent.

4. Pharma

The potential risks and impacts of data breaches for pharmaceutical companies have escalated during the pandemic. And hacking groups continue to leverage the crisis and the panic caused around it. Considering the sensitive nature of the work being done in this sector, a cyber attack could lead to a critical data loss. A strong security structure is a must of these companies, to predict suspicious behaviour and potential attacks, thereby preventing the occurrence of any data breach.

5. Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector, which also includes automotive and electronics, comes only second to healthcare when it comes to having vulnerability to cyber attacks. It is wrongly believed that the manufacturing industry does not deal with large volumes of consumer data as compared to the other sectors and hence is immune to data breaches, and therefore data security is not taken seriously by manufacturing companies. With the rise of Internet of Things, the consumers’ data as well as the company’s information is at a high risk. Hence data security needs to be treated as a business issue, and not just another IT problem.

What are the challenges in meeting these demands in 2020 –

With the work from home policy, it’s harder to monitor and control employees’ work activity. Employees, freed from the restrictive policies of company networks, may also slacken their security practices and endanger the data they take home with them.

Tools like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions applied at the endpoint level can support remote compliance through their focus on special categories of data protected by data-protection legislation as opposed to the overall devices the data is stored on. By applying policies directly to sensitive data, DLP tools help companies monitor and control the transfer and use of personal information remotely, ensuring that it is not sent outside the company or uploaded to unauthorized third party services.

Prioritizing cybersecurity and the security of its major sectors is crucial for ensuring India’s stature as one of the world’s leading investment hubs; thus, cybersecurity measures both from the government and organizations are expected to evolve and to become more pronounced in the future.