Another (no less important) factor is that data integrity and good data protection are fundamentally requirements to maintain auditability and prevent unintentional data leaks. Enterprises are aware of this and have realised the necessity of strengthening IT security and rethinking their approach to protecting their data. They have put huge efforts toward measures to counter the IT threats they have to guard against: firewalls have been set up, antivirus software has been used and updated, and internal data protection guidelines have been established, often more than 30 different solutions in an enterprise. However, despite all the progress made in recent years, there is still an area where enterprises are very vulnerable – and where they face an urgent need to take action.
What weaknesses are targeted?
Data in transit is at a particularly high risk of being targeted by bad actors. It is no longer locally stored and protected on a computer but “on the move” and therefore potentially more vulnerable to fall victim to cybercriminals. Encryption of data can be a potent countermeasure and has increasingly shifted into enterprises’ focus. By making data legible only to individuals who have the necessary keys for encryption and decryption, it can serve as an effective tool to protect sensitive information and keep it confidential while in transfer from sender to recipient. Passwords are an integral part of this countermeasure, as they safeguard encryption for sender and recipient and therefore protect data in transit. However, despite enterprises’ best efforts, there is a great risk in passwords and password management for their data security.
The root cause lies in the fact that establishing and maintaining password security always involves an extra manual effort. Passwords have to be created and then shared between communication partners – for every transfer. As a result, convenience for the users often prevails over security of the transferred data: Once an initial password has been established, in ongoing exchanges it is often kept for all future communication.