“This station is now the ultimate power in the universe…” Many businesses may have a similar feeling when everything seems to be going just right. Of course, you are not an evil corporation hunting down a handful of Jedi rebels, but you are in a war of sorts that sometimes puts you in a similar position as the Empire trying to prevent intruders from getting away with important data.
If you relax thinking everything is perfect, you risk a similar fate as the death star. Your business might be destroyed by a single attack on your weakest point that you ignored because everything else seems to be doing just right. So, let's learn from the failings of Governor Tarkin and Darth Vader so that your business can plug up any holes in its document management.
Your business recognizes the threat posed by individuals gaining access to document storage areas so you have in place cabinets, strong rooms, or even big scary security guards stopping anyone from gaining access to the records area. Maybe you do not use actual files, but you still have trust that keeping the records server under lock and key will safeguard your important documents.
That’s what the empire thought. They had the plans for the Death Star secured by stormtroopers within a secure area. They probably never thought brute force could be used to gain access to the storage area and that is how they ended up in a chase after the rebels who managed to gain access to the plans.
Your business needs to consider what would happen if someone accessed a secured area, what safety measure is in place?
What happens when someone accesses a document or computer within your system? Is there any report generated showing who gained access and from where? Can anyone within the office access the network and do whatever they want?
That is how the Death Star operated. R2D2 was able to plug into the system and access information without any audit report. At the time when Obi-Wan Kenobi and his accomplices got trapped in the Star, on more than one occasion, the droid was able to plug into the system and manipulate different functions of the Death Star.
You need to have an audit system in place to detect who has logged in and what files they can access. Or at least, whenever restricted documents or processes are accessed, a notification should be sent to alert IT security.
When was the last time you updated your antivirus or malware software? Is your threat detection system able to detect the most recent malware? Are you aware of AI being used to still data? Do you ignore notifications emailed to you by your IT support? If you simply installed an anti-virus years ago and forgot about it, your business is so much like the Death Star.
"hold your fire, there are no life forms aboard" those words were an indication of a threat detection system failing to do its work. If only they had fired at the escape pod, the important plans for the Death Star would never have ended up in the hands of the rebels. The 2 droids in the pod were key in the downfall of the battleship, but because the security was trained to only lookout for “life forms” they failed to neutralize a threat.
To protect your data from external threats, your business needs to have up-to-date threat detection and elimination procedures. Run regular updates, get rid of obsolete software, and ensure everyone on your team is vigilant about preventing any attacks or theft of data.
Do users need some kind of authentication to access files within your system? Is anyone logged into the network able to get any document they want? Or maybe you have a password system but it is easy to guess and is shared by so many people? If there is no way to restrict access to important information using authentication methods, you are no different from the Empire and its death star.
The rebels had very little trouble accessing the plans for the battleship or even accessing any system in the Death Star. Once they were inside the ship, R2D2 could gain access to a lot of information. Even when the plans were stolen, they didn’t have to hack into anything, they were just there like information on a flash disk without a password.
You must have 2-factor authentication for your important documents. Even if you have a password, there should be another authentication step either using biometrics of an authorized person or a PIN that needs to be entered. Passwords should also be at least 12 characters with symbols and numbers included.
Are you convinced that you have the best security system and so you do not need to carry out any risk assessment? In that case, your business is exactly like the Death Star.
A diligent risk assessment would have exposed the gaping hole in the battleship that can cause its destruction. Because everyone thought a handful of rebels were no match for the death ray that could destroy an entire planet, all it took were a couple of well-aimed shots into the ship’s weak spot and the entire star exploded into smithereens.
Always assess risks and never underestimate criminals that are determined to gain access to important information.
If you notice any similarities between you and the Death Star, it is high time you worked on those issues, and May the 4th be with you.
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