It Happened to Sony; It Could Happen To You – Is Your Corporate Communications at Risk for Getting Hacked?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about network security, and it’s usually sprinkled with nice IT and network acronyms like LAN, VPN, DDCMP, DES, EGA, and of course references to AAAAA (Anonym Association Against Acronym Abuse), accompanied by the typical eye rolls and creased foreheads.

CIOs are constantly sweating over making their networks secure, but like a nice, big house, if someone wants in bad enough, they will find a way.

In recent news, five new movies from Sony Pictures were stolen and put up on copyright infringing, file-sharing website right after a hacking attack that crippled the studio’s IT network. The breach also extracted a huge amount of sensitive data, including the Social Security numbers of more than 47,000 current and former employees and some Hollywood celebrities, the Wall Street Journal reported. The group taking credit for the hacking calls itself GOP, “Guardians of Peace,” first hacked Sony on Nov. 24 and said it planned to eradicate all of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

This is enough to make anyone sweat. Welcome to the new world of cybercrime.

Communication Lockdown

Most people don’t think of an enterprise IT network as a company’s main line of communication, but that is exactly what they have become. Nor do most people think of files such as videos, images and voice memos sitting on a server network as “communication,” but when users can access and share those files with others, it becomes an extended channel for communicating.

In the case of Sony Pictures’ recent hacking, their network was disrupted, information was stolen, and the network was disrupted, while their main line of intra-organization communication was shut-down and corrupted for several periods of time. The damage from this attack may end up being measured in billions of dollars of lost revenue from the loss of ticket sales, loss of productivity, interruptions to employees’ daily workflows, and the possible never-ending pit of legal costs that Sony may incur.

Let us take into consideration the human toll of such an attack. Sony employees, without a doubt, feel the pain – the stress and insecurities caused by wondering if their emails or personal information may have been leaked or copied. The threat of this kind of attack causes anxiety and frustration among employees. It begs the question; will they be able to communicate securely again?

Imagine how the CIO of Sony must be feeling right now. He’s now tasked with figuring out a way to prevent further attacks on the network and keep staff’s mobile, email and file sharing communication channels accessible, yet secure. I’m sure he’s using currently shouting many 4-letter words that aren’t exactly IT network acronyms.

Securing the Channel

Companies can learn from Sony’s rather unfortunate experience, which underscores how crucial it is for them to understand the particular information that is stored in their various IT systems, and to provide extra protection where necessary. One way companies can do this is by performing data discovery on their own systems before an attack ever happens. Data loss prevention tools can unearth sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or corporate financial information that might be stored in an insecure manner.

Additionally, another solution companies should consider is an end-to-en encrypted secure messaging platform, which helps ensure the highest level of data protection when it comes to mobile communications. And enterprise-grade secure messaging platform, such as TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard, will provide an additional digital communication channel for texting, as well as image and file sending that is protected by encryption and includes features like auto-deletion, remote wipe and secure access from any desktop or mobile device.

Secure messaging allows employees to confidently communicate, even if the company network is under attack, shut down, or not functioning. This is crucial when trying to restore employee productivity and workflows.

If your company has an IT network infrastructure, there is always a risk of your corporate communications getting hacked. Preparing for attacks of this nature though will help minimize risks. Additionally, with data loss prevention and secure messaging solutions in place, companies can protect critical communication and data and no longer fear the lost revenue or employee confidence and productivity from the leaking of confidential information.

Download The 6 Keys to Successful Communication at Work to learn more about the benefits of secure texting.

Will O’Connor, M.D. is the Chief Medical Information Officer at TigerConnect. As a physician executive with more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Will is a passionate advocate for rapid advancement across the healthcare industry.