It seems like every other day; we see a story on the news about the latest major data breach that has compromised the personal and financial records of hundreds and thousands of unsuspecting customers. It’s even more frightening to think about how many unknown data breaches might have occurred without anyone finding out. In many cases, large companies will learn that their system has been breached, only after subsequent performance issues cause their network to malfunction. Before becoming aware of the breach, the company has no way of securing its data because the theft is taking place behind the scenes.
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Fortunately, many companies are using the following methods to keep better track of who is accessing their data in real-time:
1. Analytics and User Tracking
One way IT specialists at major corporations are keeping track of data security is by using web analytics and tracking tools to generate stats about network usage. There may even be separate systems for analyzing each kind of platform used on the network. For example, many businesses are now using third-party SharePoint analytics solutions to keep a closer eye on how files are being used and accessed within the SharePoint system. Such tools can quickly raise red flags when an excessive amount of data is being downloaded or viewed on the platform in a short period of time.
2. Employing In-House Hackers
Defensive hacking is the practice of hacking into one’s network to find and repair vulnerabilities that nefarious hackers could exploit. Sometimes data breaches are discovered when defensive hackers are searching for weak points in the system and accidentally stumble upon a point of entry that a hacker has already used. From there it doesn’t take long for the IT team to trace whether the loophole has already been exploited, and if so, to what extent.
3. Letting Users Report Suspicious Activity and Compromised Accounts
Companies are also taking user account complaints more seriously, with IT teams investigating signs of suspicious activity more frequently and implementing stricter anti-spam and anti-phishing technologies. By making it easier for network users to report hacked accounts, the company can stay on top of breaches as soon as they begin to affect the network’s usability. Unfortunately, many hackers will never change the account passwords and can, therefore, go unnoticed for a long time before any network users notice anything.
What Happens After a Breach is Discovered?
Most companies will begin working to close the loophole that the hackers have exploited; sometimes even before publicizing the discovery of the breach. The reason for keeping things initially under wraps is to gain the competitive edge on hackers who may have a contingency plan in place to attack the server or site in the event they’re discovered. Rather than prompting a hacking war and making things more difficult on their IT team, most corporations will give their staff a chance fix the problem that allowed the breach before notifying network users that their accounts may have been compromised. However, this is not always possible if extensive downtime is required to fix the issue.
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