Posted: 2020-06-19

We have spoken on this blog before about Data and its use in the modern age, a double edged sword that, for the most part, is utilised responsibly yet continues to retain the stigma of being a tool that can be easily manipulated. Fortunately for us, the tech world has become savvy to this and has put measures in place to make data manipulation more difficult for those that wish to exploit it. This is called Safeguarding.

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It is usually something reserved for social or hospice work, to protect vulnerable children and adults from those that would do them harm. Tech safeguarding follows similar principles, however in place of vulnerable people, it’s there to help vulnerable companies.

We’ve all experienced potential scammers online. Everyone today has a digital foot print and have likely received what appear to be legitimate emails or phone calls from people claiming to be from recognisable companies or even using your name in order to get personal or account details from you. For the most part, unless it’s a truly sophisticated con, you can tell quite easily whether it’s legitimate or not. However, when it comes to those preying on companies, safeguarding needs to be significantly more robust.

The phrase “have you tried turning it off and on again” has become synonymous with how companies think of their IT departments, but it cannot be understated how pivotal IT is. It’s not just about guaranteeing systems run smoothly, although that is much of what IT does, but to ensure that the company is safe from negative outside influences. It’s not just about sourcing the latest firewall programs either but recognising the tell-tale signs of something that seems out of the ordinary. For the most part, this process can be relatively straightforward and, should anything bad arise, it will likely result updated practices to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

However there have been some very high-profile instances where even the best protection has failed.

Back in 2011, Sony had to shut down the entire PlayStation network for 23 days due to a breach that saw 77 million PlayStation users’ personal and financial details compromised to hackers. Something of this size, still one of the largest data breaches in history, is rare but it also serves as a wake-up call to other companies that even giants like Sony are not invulnerable. This obviously goes beyond merely failing to update their anti-virus software; companies like Sony have full time dedicated departments specifically founded to fight against this kind of cybercrime and there is no reason for any company, big or small, to not consider implementing something similar.

Just remember though, that starting and maintaining a company comes with many hurdles. Just be sure that the data you store is safe enough to not cause any headaches in future. And don’t get complacent.