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Minimizing Data Leak Risks: Essential Recommendations for Every Company

Vladimir Boianji, ISSP Enterprise Solutions Director, expertly outlines the essential steps an organization must take during a data breach.

With the increasing number of high-profile data leaks occurring each year, no company is completely immune to this threat. Whether you're a small startup seeking investments or a large multinational corporation working with top firms, data leakage can pose a significant risk to your valuable information.


For instance, there have been recent reports regarding a data leak that affected 62 companies that cooperate with one of Big Four accounting firms. These companies fell victim to an attack organized by the russian hacking group known as Clop. Notable Canadian entities, including Air Canada (the largest airline in Canada), Constellation Software (a leading Canadian software company), Sierra Wireless (a provider of wireless communication equipment), Staples Canada (a prominent Canadian retailer), and Sun Life Assurance of Canada (one of the largest life insurance companies in Canada), were among those affected by critical data breach. The data leak resulted in the exposure of a wide range of sensitive information, including financial reports, accounting documents, passport scans, contracts and agreements, audit reports, etc.


If your company has become a victim of a data leak, it is essential to take immediate incident response actions to mitigate the damage and prevent further compromise.


The first crucial step in this process is to undertake thorough threat containment measures.

Once the vulnerabilities are identified, prompt mitigation is necessary. This involves taking concrete steps to address and rectify the weaknesses that allowed the data leak to occur. One vital aspect of mitigation is resetting login modules and all associated password details. By doing so, you ensure that any compromised credentials are rendered useless, preventing unauthorized access to your systems.


Additionally, you should isolate infected machines from the rest of the infrastructure. By disconnecting compromised devices or segments from the network, you contain the breach and minimize the potential spread of malware or unauthorized access.


To ensure comprehensive security and minimize the risk of further data leaks, there are three recommendations that companies should take:


1. Perform a Compromise Assessment. To identify any compromised elements within your IT system, conduct a thorough assessment. This process involves evaluating the attack surface, which encompasses business characteristics, process weaknesses, and technical infrastructure vulnerabilities. A Compromise assessment helps uncover Indicators of Compromise (IoC) across your entire infrastructure, ensuring that no hacker footprints were missed during incident response actions. Mitigate the findings.


2. Conduct Penetration Testing. Simulated attacks on your computer systems or networks, known as penetration testing, can help identify vulnerabilities that potential attackers could exploit. These tests provide insights into visible incidents and weaknesses in your current information security measures. Depending on the nature of the test, such as internal or external attack vectors, or the level of knowledge the tester possesses (black-box, grey-box, or white-box testing), penetration tests reveal critical areas that require enhanced protection. Regularly conducting penetration tests helps to better understand the attack surface and fortify your systems and networks against potential attacks.


3. Collaborate with a Professional Security Operations Center (SOC). A Security Operations Center plays a crucial role in formalizing cybersecurity monitoring efforts. By leveraging a SOC, companies can improve their IT infrastructure monitoring capabilities, enabling the discovery of hidden behavioral anomalies and early threat detection and response.

A SOC is composed of trained experts, cybersecurity technologies, and streamlined detection and response processes. While a commercial SOC cannot fulfill all your cybersecurity requirements, it can assume various time-consuming monitoring duties, such as log management, incident detection, threat hunting, and vulnerability management. This allows your company to focus on strategic security initiatives. Even if you have an internal SOC team in place, there is always room for improvement and you can augment your current team with the advanced capabilities of the commercial SOC.


To sum up, data security should be a top priority for every organization, and proactive measures are essential to safeguard valuable data from evolving threats. Regularly assess your security measures and collaborate with trusted experts to ensure a robust and resilient cybersecurity posture. Your data's protection is vital to the success and reputation of your business. Don’t know how to start your cybersecurity journey? Contact us at info@issp.com We are ready to help!

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