A Crash Course in Deploying (and Maintaining!) a Secure EUC Environment
End-user computing, or EUC, is a valuable tool for any company. It refers to software platforms designed to allow people without a background in programming to participate in digital projects like designing applications. Without EUC, your company puts itself at a serious disadvantage– you miss out on potentially revolutionary projects because only a small percentage of your team has the technical know-how to turn their ideas into a viable product. If you want to enable your entire team to create working applications, you’ll need to be smart about how you set up your EUC.
Keeping cyber security in mind as you develop your EUC strategy has a lot of advantages. In this article, we’ll go over:
- Why security is essential to a successful EUC
- Security threats your EUC strategy should protect against
- Best practices for setting up and maintaining a secure EUC environment
You’ve Gotta Lock It Down
Companies collect a lot of information, period. There’s a reason everyone from Forbes to Huffington Post is talking about the “Era of Big Data.” Obviously, while some of that information can be made public without any serious consequences, some information is better kept confidential. The way that most companies protect their information is by controlling who has access to it: the fewer people with access, the fewer opportunities for it to leak.
While empowering more members of your team to create applications is an awesome idea from a productivity standpoint, it does raise some security concerns. Projects and applications require access to data, which means keeping data safe simply by limiting access isn’t really possible anymore. And that can be problematic.
Ask any middle schooler what happens when you tell a group of people a secret: that information’s bound to get out somehow, and not necessarily because anyone meant to spill the beans. Data leaks can happen by accident, and the best way to protect against that possibility is to train everyone in your team on the best cybersecurity practices. But more on that later.
Cybersecurity Threats Are Out There
Additionally, anytime you or anyone else on your team is accessing, transferring, or storing data, your information is potentially vulnerable. According to Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report, in late 2016:
- The average enterprise organization was using approximately 928 cloud-based apps
- Most CIOs think that their organizations are only using 30 or so cloud-based apps
- 25% of all shadow data– business data stored in the cloud without IT’s knowledge– is “broadly shared”, which increases risk of leaks or exposure
All of that means that enterprises are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber security weaknesses that exist outside of their organizations– like those present in the applications they use. Considering that 76% of websites contain security vulnerabilities and 9% of those vulnerabilities are critical, it is now more important than ever to take an active role in protecting your company’s data.
Keeping Your Data Safe
So what can you do to keep your organization’s data secure as you foray into the exciting world of EUC? Make these practices standard both for yourself and for your organization as a whole:
- Delete any suspicious-looking emails you receive, especially ones containing links, files, or images
- Do not turn on macros to view a Microsoft Office email attachment unless you’re absolutely certain the message is coming from a secure source
- Keep an eye out for updates or patches for any open-source software you use– updates often address newly discovered security vulnerabilities
- Regularly backup files, including files stored in the cloud, so that you’re able to replace them in the event of a cyber security attack
- Encrypt your data whenever possible to help protect it from attack
- Use secure protocols for communicating about data and for sharing data
- Establish a data governance system that allows you to keep track of your company’s data including what data is being stored and who is storing and accessing that information
End-user computing is a huge asset to any company because it allows you to get your whole team involved in digital projects such as app design, regardless of whether or not they have a background in programming. This opens you up to new, better application ideas, but if you aren’t careful, it can also leave your company’s data vulnerable. By keeping data vulnerabilities in mind as you establish your EUC strategy, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of EUC without sacrificing security.
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