Digital Signage Security in 2022
In business, IT security is monumentally important. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, as all companies have vulnerabilities that open them up to hackers and other cyberattacks. Digital signage software technology is just like any other tech in that there needs to be actions taken to keep it secure. Keeping your company's technology secure means every part of it, which is why understanding what you need to do is critical.
Let's dig into how digital signage software can be vulnerable and consider the foundational elements for creating a plan to maintain its security.
Dangers of Incomplete or Weak IT Security
Failing to prioritize your IT security, which includes your digital signage software, can have serious and disastrous consequences. In certain cases it can even force you to close your company's doors.
Data breaches. If your processes aren't secure, and you get hacked, private data about your clients, your company, and your employees may get out into the world. The blow back from this is devastating. Think about some of the data breaches you've heard about. Target. Yahoo. Marriott International. The list is longer than you would think, because it's challenging to keep a system secure! Hackers only need a tiny window to cause enormous damage that can follow your company for years.
Regulatory fines. Certain industries may pay for weak IT security in the form of fines. In regulated industries, there are laws governing how to handle personal identifying information (PII). If a lapse in security causes a PII leak, the company could be on the hook for steep fines. These expenses, along with the other costs of a data breach, may be too much for an organization to overcome
Brand damages. Not quite as finitely measurable as a fine, but still highly damaging and long-lasting, is the damage to a company's brand after a data breach. Depending on the severity, companies may lose a large percentage of their clients in the weeks and months following the news of a data breach. Once the cause of the breach is announced, if it was due to negligence on the company's part, the brand image suffers even worse.
Lack of trust (employees and clients). If a person's private information falls into the wrong hands because of a lapse in IT security, they're not going to like it. (And that's probably an understatement). When employees work for a company, or customers do business with them, there's an unspoken contract of trust that their PII will be kept secure. Once that trust is broken, it's difficult to regain it. Lack of trust may erode revenue and decrease sales, stunting business growth.
Must-Haves for Digital Signage Security
Making a commitment to only share information on your signage displays through a secure network, and only share accurate information, is one that is non-negotiable. Keeping the PII that is entrusted to your company secure, the trust from your employees and clients intact, and your brand image and reputation squeaky clean depends on your ability to keep it secure.
Data integrity. Your data quality needs to be above reproach at all times in all ways. This means you have a system in place that keeps the right data on the right screens, so the eyes it's meant for sees it, and nobody else does. Since digital signage software is flexible and can deliver different content to various screens, protecting your data's integrity shouldn't be a difficult task.
Privacy. This may seem like a "well, we already knew that" point, but we need to stress the importance of it, anyway. Security and privacy should always go hand-in-hand. From the beginning when the content is created and loaded into the platform, during its delivery, and when it's displayed on the screen, there must be protocols in place protecting is from users that aren't authorized to access it.
How to Improve Digital Signage Security
Every organization using digital signage must focus on its security as diligently as they do the other technology they use. Not doing leaves an opening for cyber-thieves to damage the business in many ways. What should you do? Here are six ways to immediately start improving your digital signage security.
Decide who is in charge. Who will be the stakeholder of this enormously important project? Is there someone on the IT team currently who can handle the heavy responsibility? If so, explain the goal to them and get their buy-in. Having someone in charge of, and accountable for, your digital signage security is the first step toward improving it.
Ensure content is approved for the audience. Displaying content in one place when it's supposed to be shared in another can cause confidential information about your employees and/or clients to get into the wrong hands. This user error could potentially cause disastrous scenarios. There should be a written policy of how content needs to be checked before it's shared to your digital displays. Using a consistent content sharing process helps everyone involved handle it correctly, so the content displays on the screens where it's supposed to be.
Only share accurate information. It's probably true that most companies would never deliberately share erroneous of misleading information or data. A simple mistype of a number could cause incorrect information to go out to your audience that was never intended to see. Again, the stakeholder needs to put stringent process in place with regard to loading content to avoid this situation.
Block unauthorized users. All technology platforms need to be protected well against people trying to use the system that don't have access. Your IT team should implement security patches and firewalls, and update them proactively as needed. They should also educate employees on how to avoid phishing attempts in their emails, so they don't inadvertently let a hacker in. You should also have an easy way to delete users, such as employees who quit or are fired. Keeping unauthorized users at bay is key to digital signage security.
Create a password policy. Your dog's name or favorite vacation spot is NOT an acceptable password. IT should mandate a long password with a series of letters, numbers, and characters. There should be guidance on changing it regularly, too. Third-party identity providers are helpful in making sure passwords aren't the only obstacle for someone trying to access your system that shouldn't.
Establish security access permissions. There should be user permission features available to you with your digital signage package that allow you to set up different levels of users. For example, some users may only be able to load certain types of content, and some may be able to set up content on a designated number of screens There are device-based permissions and user-based permissions available, as well. The goal here is for the main users to maintain control of the information and data being loaded and shared, and the location it's being shared with.
When it comes to digital signage security, the more informed you are and the more seriously you take the dangers of a weak system, the better-prepared you are to circumvent a security crisis. By choosing a qualified stakeholder to manage the process, and proactively implementing consistent protocols and user permissions, you can dramatically decrease the chances of a security breach.