Enterprise networks are complex structures that communicate and process terabytes of data on a daily basis. The volume of this type of data consistently grows with every new client or customer, making it near impossible for IT professionals to stay on top of it all.
As a business owner, if you worry about the security of your firm’s digital assets, a malware attack is likely the first threat that comes to mind. After all, it’s one of the most common types of cyberattacks that can impact both your business’s reputation and financial well-being.
However, you also need to worry about the integrity of your files, especially ones containing sensitive or client information or financial records. Worst case scenario, failure to provide proof of a specific file’s integrity could mean losing a regulatory certificate or difficulty disproving claims of misconduct in legal battles and accusations.
Integrity for Enterprise Networks
File integrity monitoring is the process of tracking all data changes and updates from a set baseline and deciding which were authorized edits and which require intervention. Flagged edits could indicate anything from a faulty system to an employee error, a gap in security, an insider attack, or an attempted cyberattack from an outside actor.
Digital files and assets often include a business’s financial records, client information, and patent material. Ensuring all the files are safe and knowing which of them may no longer be trustworthy is essential to keeping your enterprise secure. In addition, mandatory privacy regulations are becoming stricter, especially for businesses that hold client data and personal information.
Failure to provide proof of the data’s safety could subject your business to fines and penalties, on top of losing public trust. Not to mention, compliance certificates are shifting towards ensuring virtual digital integrity as more businesses hire remotely and provide most of their services online.
The Mechanics of Monitoring File Integrity
Monitoring file integrity is a complex process that needs to incorporate each business’s specific standards, local regulations, and predicted threat model. To start, you need to decide which files are critical and require integrity monitoring and which don’t.
Next, you need to set a baseline for said files. The baseline serves as a reference point or “original” copy, which future versions of the file—authorized or not—are compared to when needed.
The real work starts with monitoring the files for any changes. Setting standards and policies of who’s authorized to access and edit certain files and databases and who isn’t minimizes false positives and maintains a clean record without wasting company resources.
A file integrity monitoring system also includes an alerts function that sends out a notification to the people in charge immediately after detecting an unauthorized change or access to the covered files.
Suppose your goal of using file integrity monitoring is to prove compliance with specific guidelines. In that case, your monitoring system could issue out reports of how many files are no longer authentic in addition to logs on how and when your staff fixed them with the baselines in mind.
Tools for Top Security
In the modern digital economy, it’s no longer a luxury to have compliance certificates and provide proof of integrity, but a necessity. Still, that doesn’t mean a specialized file integrity monitoring software is your only option. Essential software can now perform file monitoring just as well as dedicated monitoring software. One option to cut back on overall cost and IT support is using advanced application control, a cloud-based platform that offers file integrity monitoring.
Employing solutions for application control not only monitors your files around the clock but also controls all the apps and software you use in your daily business operations. Application control software manages access privileges of various apps, ensuring none of them access unauthorized data or alter it, or pose a security risk to your network.
They also ensure the security of data communicated between multiple applications, where it’s most vulnerable to tampering. In this scenario, file integrity monitoring works as an additional security layer that keeps data errors at bay.
A Precautionary Investment
Using file integrity monitoring may not feel vital to a business’s safety and security as it doesn’t offer protection from cyberattacks as with detection, prevention, and response software. However, it’s an essential part of a safe business’s infrastructure that protects your business from accusations of fraud from the inside-out. The same applies to both local start-ups and mega-corporations that work on a global scale; security and integrity come before all business operations.