As a digital risk protection company, GroupSense finds information in all kinds of places it shouldn’t be. If data has a monetary value, cyber criminals will do everything in their power to attain and sell that information on the dark web. Most security professionals expect to find data on the dark web or cyber crime forums, but they forget about another avenue: the outside world. With employees working from home, at the coffee shop, and in between flights at the airport, it’s not so hard for threat actors to overhear your conversation with a colleague about an important deal or personnel issues. With each bit of information said aloud, a malicious actor gets one more piece of your organization’s puzzle.
Remote Work and the Expanded Attack Surface
Since moving to a remote or hybrid model, many organizations reevaluated their cybersecurity policies as their attack surfaces expanded, but those same organizations forget one of the most significant risk factors: operational security, or OpSec. OpSec is a process by which organizations prevent information from getting into the wrong hands.
It’s estimated that 36.2 million Americans will work from home by 2025. That’s an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. 74% of employees say that having a remote option will incentivize them to stay at their company. Having this conversation now will only benefit your organization in the future, and ensuring that OpSec is part of your security training plan is vital. Without it, you give threat actors lots of back doors to slip through.
What Happens to Organizations with Poor OpSec
Recently, a Japanese government contractor lost a USB drive with the PII of half a million residents while out drinking for the night. That may sound extreme– but data loss like that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine instead of a flash drive with PII, your employees are talking about a lost sales deal, enumerating the challenges of your product or service and its proprietary differentiators at the airport after a big industry conference. Little do they know that a competitor is sitting right behind them, listening to all of the pitfalls of your organization. To play this scenario out further, that person could take that information to their CTO or product team to optimize their own offerings. This could lead to lost business and affect your bottom line.
According to the Center for Development of Security Excellence, there are five main steps to OpSec:
- Identify critical information- Get together with your team to establish your organization’s critical data. In other words, what would you not want in the adversary’s hands?
- Identify the threat- How can adversaries get your critical information?
- Assess vulnerabilities- What behaviors might contribute to the threat? Where are your employees vulnerable?
- Analyze the risk- If you correctly identify critical information, what would it mean for your organization if it showed up someplace it shouldn't?
- Develop and apply countermeasures- This is where security training and data loss procedures come into play.
For a truly robust digital risk management strategy, your organization needs to include OpSec measures. Take the time to implement OpSec practices into your cybersecurity training. To get more information on how your organization can implement OpSec measures, join CEO Kurtis Minder and DeleteMe CEO Rob Shavell for a webinar on August 9. Save your spot here.