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Data Security Organizational Issues

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of today’s business operations. The exponential growth of digital technologies has resulted in a corresponding increase in cyber-attacks, as the need for organizations to focus on cybersecurity and data security has never been greater. However, many businesses face a range of organizational issues when it comes to implementing effective cyber security policies and procedures.

This article outlines some of the most common organizational issues a business will encounter when focusing on cybersecurity threats and the data security posture overall.

A Lack of Cybersecurity Culture

One of the most significant organizational issues businesses face that pertain to cybersecurity is the lack of a cybersecurity culture in general amongst employees and management. In many organizations, cybersecurity has often been seen as a secondary concern, with data security practices often ignored or given limited attention and managerial focus. This lack of an embedded cybersecurity culture is often due to a simple lack of awareness of the potential threats that might be facing an organization, as well as a lack of training and overall knowledge regarding best practices in todays threat landscape.

To address this issue, businesses need to develop a cybersecurity culture that stretches into all aspects of data handling. This requires, first and foremost, commitment from the leadership structure. The sense of urgency and need for chance has the most effect when coming from the top. Additionally, regular and reoccurring training on data handling issues is extremely important, as is a clear means of communication regarding cybersecurity practices and policies. This culture ensures that employees and stakeholders in an organization are aware of the potential threats and their role in preventing them, while reinforcing the overall cybersecurity mindset into the daily habits of the business.

A Lack of Investment

Another common organizational issue that many businesses face is an inadequate investment in cybersecurity protections and needs. Many organizations view cybersecurity as an unnecessary expense, either from a lack of understanding the value of their data or due to inadequate understanding of the myriad of threats that might be present at any given time. As such, in the budgetary understanding of what an organization needs, many businesses simply allocate minimal resources to their data security measures. This can result in insufficient protections against potential attacks, which can have serious and long lasting consequences for the organization.

To address this issue, businesses need to invest adequately into cybersecurity needs and protections. This requires a thorough understanding of the potential risks posed to the organization as well as the necessary measures required to mitigate them. Businesses must allocate sufficient resources to cybersecurity needs, including personnel, hardware, software, ongoing training, and potential collaboration with partners to closer vulnerability gaps.

A Lack of Coordination between Departments and Individuals

A lack of coordination between departments is a factor that many organizations face. From a cybersecurity standpoint, a lack of coordination, communication, and cooperation can be sometimes entirely circumvent effective data security measures already in place and working properly. Cybersecurity threats and data breaches can affect every aspect of an organization, dealing financial damage as well as the perception of trust a business might have already fostered with those they do business with.

To address this issue, A coordinated approach is required for all departments, including IT, finance, legal, marketing, and human resources, focused on cybersecurity mindset refinement. This ensures that all departments are aware of the potential threats and are working in cohesively to prevent them.

A Lack of Attention to Third-Party Risks

Many businesses rely on third-party vendors for various aspects of their operations, from supply chain management to software development to financial transaction operations. Often, these interactions are viewed as “ending at the door”, meaning that once the organization has facilitated their end of the interaction with regards to data security practices, it is assumed that the interactions that go on outside the organization are carried out with the same attention to detail and protection. This assumption is folly; third-party vendors are just as likely to pose cybersecurity risks to the organization as any other entity has the potential to be. Therefore, it is essential that businesses pay sufficient attention to third-party risk management.

To address this issue, businesses need to develop a comprehensive third-party risk management program. This program needs to include a thorough assessment of third-party vendors, including their cybersecurity policies and data security procedures. This assessment needs to be ongoing, monitoring and evaluating third-party vendors that handle vital data to ensure they are meeting the necessary cybersecurity standards. This assessment is the responsibility of the third-party vendors and the organization that entrusts them with sensitive data. This mindset does not simply end at the transference of data outside the organization.

Cybersecurity threats and data breeches are a significant concern for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. However, many businesses face a range of internal organizational issues when it comes to implementing effective cybersecurity policies and procedures. These issues appear to be common sense when from overhead. However, migrating organizational structures towards more effective measures that benefit the business overall can be slow and difficult. The means by which to correct coordination between departments, properly understanding and handling the risks posed by third-party vendors, and spreading a culture of cybersecurity awareness within an organization can be an immense challenge. However, these concerns must be addressed, by developing a cohesive cybersecurity strategy that involves all aspects of the business, including the people employed, hardware, and software. Only when these organizational issues are shifted within the structure as a whole, can businesses adequately protect themselves against potential cyber attacks and data breaches.

Shane Staton lives in Houston, Texas, and is a recent graduate of the University of Houston Downtown with a Masters in Security Management and Cybersecurity.

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