Consulting with a Conscience™

A cruciallogics blog

Written by Omar Rbati
on April 19, 2021

In the past two decades, the global financial sector has suffered $12 billion in direct losses due to cybercrime. Data exfiltration, which is corporate data leakage to unauthorized users, is becoming increasingly frequent, and it's getting more sophisticated. These leaks could be triggered internally by personnel who should not have access to certain types of data or externally by unauthorized users or hackers. The average cost of a data breach is US$4.45 million. However, a breach does more than just financial damage, it also erodes customer confidence and tarnishes company reputations. 

The Risk of Data Exfiltration

The size of the company doesn't matter – it doesn't take a lot of staff to have one leak, intentional or not. Brazen hackers could cunningly request access to confidential data. A company's sensitive data could be exposed via a phishing campaign or malware that grabs credentials.

An employee's personal device could be compromised to gain access to organizational data. Compounding IT security issues, COVID-19 has led to more people working from home using their personal devices, which has resulted in an additional, poorly protected path for hackers to exfiltrate data from the company's IT storage facility.

To mitigate these risks, implementing a robust data governance policy is crucial. Data governance establishes clear guidelines for data classification, access controls, handling procedures, and security measures, minimizing the likelihood of unauthorized data access and exfiltration.

How to Prevent Data Exfiltration

There are several ways to protect a company's data and multiple tools to prevent data loss. Here are eight practices to prevent data exfiltration:

  1. First Line of Defense: Train employees with online and in-person cybersecurity courses. Conduct regular phishing simulations to hone their ability to detect and respond to threats.
  2. Implement Policies: Establish clear IT security and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies to deter both deliberate and accidental data leaks.
  3. Secure M365: Customize Microsoft 365 settings to prevent malware and spyware attacks.
  4. Fortify Email: Disable email auto-forwarding and utilize mail protection to identify and block sensitive data exfiltration attempts. Implement DLP to automatically flag sensitive information.
  5. Encrypt and Control Access: Empower users to encrypt data and set access permissions to restrict sensitive data to authorized users only.
  6. Centralized Monitoring: Use endpoint management tools to monitor IT infrastructure in real time, allowing you to manage or block data transfers.
  7. Mitigate Insider Threats: Implement robust insider threat controls to minimize risks associated with disgruntled employees or unintentional data breaches.
  8. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA for all users to increase data security significantly. Utilize session-based controls and additional security measures to safeguard user identities, devices, and data.

Additional Cloud Data and Identity Protection Measures

CrucialLogics has a special package for Cloud Data and Identity Protection. It offers a definitive checklist for securing a company's cloud environment to prevent data and identity from being exfiltrated. Eight of the protocol features include:

  1. Data and Identity Permissions Access 
    • Disables O365 basic authentication access 
    • Disables Exchange Online (EXO) legacy protocols
    • Control Tenant data and identity access for 3rd party app
    • Privileged Identity Management
    • M365 internal and external access policies
  1. Data and Identity Conditional Access  
    • Prevent corporate data from being downloaded on unauthorized devices
    • Force Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
    • Prevent tenant access from unauthorized locations
    • Cloud Accounts, password policies and self-service password reset
  1. Data and Identity Auditing and Monitoring 
    • Account sign-ins risks
    • Access review policies
  1. Data Labeling 
    • Sensitivity Labels protection
    • Retention labels
  1. Data Retention 
    • M365 services retention policies 
    • Content search, eDiscovery and legal hold
  1. Data Loss Prevention 
    • Sensitive data loss protection (DLP) rules 
    • M365 Insider risk management  
  1. Data Compliance 
    • Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) vs. MS encryption keys with lockbox management
    • Data Geo Location 
    • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  1. Data Advance Threat 
    • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
    • Disable External Outlook mail forwarding rules
    • Microsoft Cloud App Security 

The ever-growing threat landscape, with the IT and Software sector suffering close to 5.5 billion breached records, demands a proactive approach to security. Data exfiltration tactics are constantly evolving, making it crucial to stay ahead of the curve.

CrucialLogics can help. Our Cloud Data and Identity Protection solutions empower you to optimize your security posture, safeguard sensitive information, and minimize the risk of data breaches. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and discover how CrucialLogics can be your trusted partner in cybersecurity.

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