By Kyle Christopher

CIOs are being targeted with one big question because of some recent, high profile security breaches: “Are we secure?” Sources now reveal that in November and December, hackers were able to steal 110 million credit card numbers, names, addresses and phone numbers from Target customers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Security breaches of this nature put pressure on CIOs in every industry. Are you prepared to answer tough questions about your security strategies and justify your approaches in 2014?  

Here are a few ways to be ready for the security challenges you will face.

1. Secure the Network

A secure network requires firewalls and intrusion prevention in order to catch malware. Policies must be in place to prevent unauthorized access by utilizing strong passwords. These operations should be well established and extend to all business units so that security is of organization-wide importance. The security breach with Target likely involved a malware that infected the actual machines where people swiped their credit cards. A secure network will prevent these types of infections outright.

2. Encryption

All sensitive data should be encrypted at the very entry point in the database. Your data travels a long way before it gets to your server. Any data that is not encrypted at the entry point will potentially expose sensitive data and put you at risk. Storing encrypted data requires more processing power on the back end, but it is a small price to pay to ensure that hackers and thieves cannot decrypt the data and use  it for malicious purposes.

3. Vulnerability Management

Constant testing is required to be aware of any vulnerability within applications or systems that could potentially be exploited. Experts should be hired as needed to try and exploit any of these areas before the bad guys do. When hiring new employees, it is also key to look for people who can think creatively and who will be able to adapt to future technology challenges. In short, ongoing testing and hiring the right people are the keys to vulnerability management.

4. Create Accountability Within Your Organization

Organizations must have strict usage policies of their systems so employees only have access to the applications they need to do their job. By building trust and strengthening internal and external relationships, you will ensure well-established security policies.

5. Hardware, Maintenance, and Room to Grow

As your data continues to grow, it will be imperative that your data storage hardware is current with security measures set in place. As hackers become more technologically advanced, outdated hardware and software put you at enormous risk. Also, now is the time to verify which of your hardware is coming out from under maintenance. If cost is a concern, it is important to remember that the cost of a security breach is immeasurably more expensive both financially as well as in terms of the damage it can do to your company image. In addition, there are many low cost options available for preowned hardware as well as third-party maintenance plans that can be customized to fit your infrastructure. Cost does not have to be a concern. 

Reliant Technology offers a variety of storage equipment needed to handle your security challenges, including Data Domain, EMC storage, and NetApp Storage. Contact us to see how we can help solve your security challenges. We also offer dedicated staff that will make any storage or maintenance upgrade easy for you and your team. Whether you are in the market for new or used, it might be worth a quick email or phone call so we can offer a valuable second opinion. Feel free to contact us.