Telecom Companies Must Prioritize Cybersecurity in Data Management

By: Albert McKeon| - Leave a comment

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Telecommunication companies possess valuable customer information, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. Security must become a top data management priority if telecoms want to stay ahead of these threats.

Several telecommunication companies have already fallen victim to cybercrime, highlighting the thin line between data protection and piracy. In May, a cybercriminal snagged the private data of nearly 2 million Bell Canada customers, the Financial Post reported. After the company refused to pay the ransom, the criminal posted thousands of their customer email addresses online.

Telecom businesses each detected an average of 8,536 security incidents in 2016, culminating in a 70 percent increase industry wide, according to PwC. Half of the surveyed telecom companies reported that their customer data was compromised.

Security Threats Test Data Management

It should come as no surprise that the companies with the largest customer databases are the biggest targets. The telecom industry is second only to tech in the volume of stolen information sold on the darknet, RCR Wireless News reported.

With only a phone number, cybercriminals can read text messages, listen to phone calls and track mobile phone owners’ locations using a vulnerability in Signaling System 7, the worldwide mobile phone network infrastructure, The Guardian outlined.

Cybercriminals can also prey on telecom employees through phishing attacks by disguising themselves as trustworthy colleagues to access customer information. The Spanish telecom company Telefonica was among the many organizations victimized this year by the ransomware WannaCry, Business Insider reports.

Enhancing Vigilant Security

Effective data management starts with basic security training. Telecom companies should incorporate cybersecurity into the everyday flow of work by sending employees frequent security updates and advice, as well as holding regular training sessions to promote security awareness.

Cloud-based cybersecurity services provide real-time monitoring and threat intelligence tools to catch cybercriminals inside and outside the perimeter of the company firewall.

Ed Amoroso, a former AT&T chief security officer, recommends putting cloud computing and software-defined networking (SDN) at the heart of data management and security practices, Fierce Telecom reports. He also advises businesses to use multiple cloud security services and spread workloads across a distributed grid. This approach allows companies to move secure workloads between clouds as they see fit, and with SDN as the backbone of the distributed cloud model, cybercriminals will have a harder time accessing data.

No matter what security approach telecom companies choose, they need to stay ahead of cybercriminals, who have both time and cheap tools on their side. Customers expect companies to go the extra mile to protect their data and will look elsewhere if they don’t see that effort.

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About The Author

Albert McKeon

Freelance Writer

Albert McKeon covers technology, health, business, politics and entertainment. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter for 16 years on the staffs of The Telegraph (N.H.) and Boston Herald, winning the New England Press Association’s Journalist of the Year award and other honors. He now writes as a freelancer for several magazines and news outlets, and creates content for organizations such as Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston College.

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