The importance of secure data storage for remote work

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As the conversation around cybersecurity continues to grow in 2022, one topic companies are focusing on is how employee behavior unwittingly becomes a threat to their own organization.

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Ruben Dennenwaldt, Senior Product Marketing Manager EMEA at western digital.

Many organizations have made concerted efforts to raise awareness about digital privacy, including educating people on how to manage their personal and business information to protect it. Their aim would be to provide clear guidance and advice on how individuals and businesses can do what they can to take control of their personal data, identify the most trusted partners, and strike the perfect balance between privacy and accessibility.

According to a recent study by Western Digital, 68% of data managers believe that employee behavior is a greater threat to their highly sensitive data than external hackers, and it is estimated that one in four data security incidents originates from employees. Managers say they have seen security threats and incidents increase over the past year and 22% of data users are also aware that they have endangered highly sensitive data during the same period.

But this risk is increasingly exacerbated by a number of factors, including the changing threat landscape, lack of appropriate data security tools, insecure internal storage and sharing practices. Combined, these challenges have created a security tipping point for data security decision makers. Overall, officials believe data protection could be improved, particularly in how their organizations store and transmit sensitive data.

Data users are a much greater risk than ever. Part of that is because hackers are getting smarter and more sophisticated in how they target employees. It’s also the result of an overnight shift to remote working, which has rapidly increased the use of personal devices for work tasks and physically separated employees from their IT teams. However, there’s no denying that bad password habits and a lack of education are also problems.

Remote work and risky security practices

Remote and hybrid working styles have become the new norm, with many data users collaborating online on projects that require extensive data sharing capabilities. But these collaborative and remote ways of working have introduced additional challenges and exposed major risks. The main risks cited in the survey by data managers are:

  • 47% of employees share physical hard drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives with colleagues at work to share data
  • 26% of employees share work devices with family and friends, especially during lockdown when kids were home and attending school online
  • 27% of employees taking sensitive data with them when they left an organization, which became difficult to monitor during the remote work period

These risks have significant implications for the security and prosperity of the organizations people work for. They got data managers and IT teams thinking about the tools and solutions available to employees to prevent them from inadvertently putting data at risk. In a survey, 35% of data managers believed that employees lacked the tools/technology to protect data from home, and 33% believed that employees felt psychologically more “removed” from risk when they were working remotely. Meanwhile, many continue to believe that there is simply a lack of clear guidance provided by employers. This all adds up to a growing problem for data security and storage.

Data sharing and transfer

There is still a clear gap in employee behavior between the data sharing method used and their assumption of the safest way to share sensitive data. The most common methods of sharing or transmitting highly sensitive data by employees are email and cloud, or online file sharing, ahead of hard drives/SSDs and USB drives. Ease of use and familiarity are key factors in data users’ decision-making when it comes to sharing sensitive data.

However, according to the study, 88% of data managers still want more control over how data is stored and shared. In addition to the belief that data security needs to be improved immediately, more than half of data managers (54%) intend to increase their use of hard drives and solid-state drives over the next two years. because of the encryption and security features these technologies can offer.

Ultimately, most data managers say that hard drives or SSDs with encryption or security features address many of the concerns companies may have about using physical drives to sort and share sensitive data. .

The path to follow

In today’s business environment, increasing security risks, employee behavior and the sheer volume of data generated means it can be difficult for businesses to keep security and storage challenges under control. As technology advances and the way people work continues to change, employees and employers are looking for ways to store and share sensitive data more securely. The right infrastructure, integrated with encryption platforms and training employees on the threats they may expose their organization to, will help improve the threat landscape and reduce risk.

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