Credit Strategy: Vulnerable Data

Expert Insight

Vulnerable data and how to protect it

In today’s increasingly online world, vulnerable business data is at an all-time high – and is only increasing. As such, the need for this year’s Vulnerability Summit hosted by Credit Strategy was more integral than ever. Held in London between 18th-20th May, the three-day digital broadcast provided a platform for experts and decision makers to share their expertise on vulnerable data and discuss how you can incorporate vulnerability your business strategies.

As an expert in all things vulnerable data, our Head of Cyber Security at Stripe OLT, Ryan Pullen, joined the cross-industry panel of speakers to lead the Fireside Chat on Vulnerable Data on the final day of the Summit. In case you missed it, you can watch it below, alternatively, we’ve also given you a quick summery of key points below….

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Identifying types of vulnerable data:

Kicking off the talk with discussions about what would class as vulnerable data, it was ultimately concluded that it is very much dependent on sector.

Financial organisations, for example, would have sensitive finance records and GDPR special category data, the Healthcare sector would have patient care information and sensitive personal data, whilst other industries might deem all data as sensitive and therefore potentially vulnerable.

The vulnerability of data is ultimately subjective – but the importance of how that sensitive data is stored is critical across sectors. Anything that could be deemed under the bracket of ‘vulnerable’ should be safeguarded with technologies such as encryption, authentication, and employing a model of least privilege across your business (essentially only giving access to those that require access).


Types of emerging threat and risk evolution:

Next on the agenda was risk evolution and emerging threats to sensitive data…

“With recent cyber-attacks such as the Colonial Pipeline being widely publicised in the mainstream media, malicious individuals can see that there is money to be made – it shows that there are viable criminal business models available. As such, we’re seeing a huge spike in Ransomware as a Service…”

Essentially a model where you can hire cyber-criminals to perform an attack for you, Ransomware as a Service has led to a vast increase in phishing attacks. Whilst many of these scam emails or texts can be simplistic, the net is cast so widely that the number of attacks and consequently the number of those falling victim has increased hugely.

As such, Ryan’s key takeaway here was the importance of education – both for the public and employees of all organisations. Of course, it is necessary to have the protective and preventative systems in place for your sensitive data, but holistic protection requires internal employee awareness.

When it comes to education, all employees require training, regardless of their position or role. Our SecOps team at Stripe OLT provide courses for both users and executives, conducting phishing simulations that rise in sophistication and complication over time.

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How to mitigate existing threats and prepare for the future:

To conclude the talk, Amber asked Ryan to summarise three fundamental best practises businesses can do in order to protect sensitive data:

  1. Understand what your external footprint looks like. By this, we mean looking at your business through the eyes of a third-party and identifying any holes or areas in your business that could be used or manipulated for malicious effect.
  2. Education. The more information and awareness that you have, the more you can prepare for the future.
  3. Understand what you need to protect. Essentially identifying the gaps in your business, where vulnerable data lies and that you have in order to ensure it is stored and protected adequately.

At Stripe OLT, we know that the threat-landscape is ever-evolving and it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we run a 24/7 in house SOC team to keep your business and your special category data safe, and respond to threats when it matters most. If you want to know more about vulnerable data, get in touch with one of the team to discover how we can rapidly improve your organisation’s security posture.

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