A number of recent data breach events have once again put negative attention on the IT world, and businesses in every sector find themselves needing to focus on data protection and security moving into 2015. With so much attention being placed on the industry, it can be easy to get distracted by fear-inducing press and marketing hype that gets in the way of making sound decisions about what security options are available for your enterprise. IT service management strategies can play a huge, foundational role in keeping end-users' data safe. A few ways that this is accomplished include:
Establish good change policies
A change gone wrong is a common cause of security problems. Human error during change processes can cause private data to be made available to the public by accidentally posting an internal website on customer-facing servers. It can lead to an outage that makes data unavailable or create a variety of other security problems. A good change management problem and CMDB will help you anticipate the implications of any configuration changes, establish authorizations to ensure that change tasks aren't handled without proper supervision and allow you to employ automation to minimize human error.
Adopt release management
Existing vulnerabilities in apps and services represent a prime method for hackers to gain access to the network. Patches and updates need to be made as efficiently as possible to ensure that these backdoors into the IT setup are not left open for long. As organizations grapple with enterprise trends (such as BYOD) that lead to more operating systems in the configuration, they need to release more iterations of apps and services into production. The result is a more time consuming and complex release process, and release management solutions that automate processes and organize workflows to help organizations get updates and patches live as quickly as possible.
Train your non-technical workers
Phishing scams are a huge problem for businesses, as an unwary worker that clicks an infected link or reveals login credentials to a hacker can open up the company's entire network to trouble. One-time training events can help organizations overcome phishing scams, but they may not be enough. Establishing a knowledge center with ongoing training materials to help users understand phishing and how to avoid clicking on the bait can empower workers to help with data protection.
Get help with regulatory compliance
Complying with regulatory standards is a key component of any data protection strategy, but it isn't always easy. Regulatory standards are generally clear in describing the results of data protection plans (I.E. data must be available a certain percentage of the time), but they don't usually provide much detail on how you need to get there. As such, it is key that you get the help to establish the processes and technologies you need to create a configuration that complies with regulatory guidelines.
Protecting data assets is like building a castle. In the end, you can have an extremely secure setup, but it is fairly static in nature. A hacker or internal threat can sit back and observe the practices in your castle as long as it takes to find a weakness and then attack that point at the worst time possible. Because of this, the greatest asset you have in keeping data safe is a flexible, responsive IT setup. This is where IT service management systems are especially valuable. If your organization has automated processes and established best practices for change, release and problem management, you can quickly respond to new threats as they emerge and keep your IT castle secure from even the most malicious attacks.