Don’t Give Attackers a Chance by Leveraging Strong Authentication to Combat Data Breaches

Evolution and adaptation are the topics of discussion when it comes to data breaches, but why is it that we are growing or changing for incidents that have already happened? Is it really easier to react than it is to be proactive in enhancing an organization’s security? After a company loses confidential documents, whether to data breaches or careless efforts, most organizations only start to change their information technology security when responding to the data breaches or attacks.

When it comes to confidential customer information a more proactive approach is better if you want to keep you customers happy and safe. Utilizing electronic documents combined with two-factor authentication, or also called strong authentication, offers both the portability and privacy an organization needs. Privacy concerns can ruin a relationship between an organization and consumers if the proper care is not taken to ensure a person’s privacy. Not only does a consumer lose confidence in their security with an organization, an organization can also be fined for not having the proper security measures in place. So why would an organization ever take the chance of exposing confidential data by not properly securing it?

In recent news, a doctor at an established hospital in Boston lost an external hard drive which contained 638 files of confidential patient information. This is not your typical data breach because a hacker never tried to plan an attack. However, information on the physician’s device could potentially be harmful to the privacy of patients. Technically, the doctor did put his patients at risk, however, the amount of risk was minimal, but that is not to say preventative measures could not have been taken. Had the doctor utilized electronic medical records stored on a server that is protected by two-factor authentication there would have less likely been a chance of a data breach.

A common need for medical physicians is to access medical records at any given time is why the doctor had the documents on a portable storage device. Encryption is the usual defense for hardware security however there are many chances of something happening to a device, it being hacked or even damage to the information on it. Beyond that, encryption will never change or grow in the amount of security it offers unless you constantly update your encryption software. Eventually, confidential data could be accessed even if it had been encrypted.

Storing information on a secure server using strong authentication could be the most effective way of accessing confidential data remotely and securely. Not only does using a secure server with strong authentication offer a higher level of protection, but it is more cost effective than many approaches that do not even offer the same level of security. You would never have to worry about losing a portable device and the chances of a hacker based data breach would be almost nonexistent. Also, all the information stored on the server is always up-to-date because even though one person is not in the office, the servers are often maintained and running.

Using a secure server using two factor authentication to store sensitive information drastically lowers the chance of losing, damaging or misplacing containing confidential data compared to storing it on a device like an external hard drive. Two-factor authentication reduces the risk of an organization losing sensitive health information and it minimizes the chance of a patient’s health information being compromised. If there were a data breach or information was lost it would only reflect poorly on the organization and the hardware used to create and secure the data. Using two factor authentication, there would not be an instance of an individual losing a device in the first place, but more importantly it would eliminate possible malware that could record and transmit confidential data.

Preventing an attack does not always depend on technology although it does prevent some forms of data loss. Never let attackers take a chance with your encrypted files by storing confidential data on storage devices. By utilizing secure services and by utilizing two-factor authentication, you can access your electronic information securely all while staying compliant with industry rules and regulations such as HIPAA and FFIEC which require forms of strong authentication.

Adam is a network security specialist who believes that all businesses in any industry could benefit from 2 factor authentication. He provides information about one time password solutions and out of band authentication to help stop data breaches. Fighting on the forefront of information security to create a more private future for everyone’s personal data.

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