Do you need Data Security to Safeguard your Business? Find out Ways to Proceed
Whatever business you work in or what interests you, you've almost likely come across a story about how "data" is transforming our world. In general, data is just another way of saying "information." However, data refers to information that is machine-readable rather than human-readable in computers and business (much of what you read in the news when it comes to data – especially if it's about Big Data). Any company's most valuable asset is data. Thus, taking care of your data, whether it's financial reports, healthcare records, or a start-up company plan, is vital. Despite strengthened data security regulations, the chance of a data breach is increasing. According to Capita, 80% of data breaches involve personally identifiable information, with each record costing $150.
What is Data Security?
Data security is the process of protecting sensitive data against tampering, compromise, or loss. Data security, often known as information security, refers to the procedures, rules, and guidelines used to safeguard digital data and other types of information. As the amount of data collected and stored continues to expand at unprecedented rates, data protection becomes increasingly important. There is also minimal tolerance for downtime, which might prevent crucial information from being accessed. As a result, ensuring that data can be restored rapidly after corruption or loss is an important aspect of data security. The "CIA triangle" is a set of three core principles for data security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
- Confidentiality: Confidentiality refers to limiting unauthorized access to sensitive information so that it does not end up in the wrong hands. Security mechanisms such as access control lists (ACLs) based on the principle of least privilege, encryption, two-factor authentication, and strong passwords, configuration management, and monitoring and alerting should all be used to safeguard confidentiality.
- Integrity: Integrity refers to the protection of data from unauthorized erasure or change. A digital signature, which is commonly used by government and healthcare organizations to authenticate information validity and protect transactions, is one technique to ensure integrity.
- Availability: To ensure that services and information systems are available when needed, security controls, computer systems, and software must all function effectively. For example, in order for your accountants to transmit, pay, or process invoices, your financial database must be accessible.
Data Security Risks
- Accidental Exposure
A substantial number of data breaches are the consequence of careless or accidental exposure of sensitive data, rather than a malicious attack. Employees of a company frequently share, grant access to, lose, or mishandle sensitive information, either by accident or because they are unaware of security standards. Employee training, as well as other measures such as data loss prevention (DLP) technology and increased access controls, can help solve this critical issue. DLP systems employ rules to search for sensitive information in electronic conversations or to detect unusual data transfers. The purpose is to prevent information like intellectual property, financial data, and employee or customer information from being routed beyond the business network, either mistakenly or intentionally.
- Phishing and Other Social Engineering Attacks
Attackers employ social engineering as a primary method of gaining access to sensitive information. They entail persuading or misleading someone into divulging personal information or granting access to privileged accounts. Phishing is a type of social engineering that is very widespread. Messages that look to be from a reputable source but are actually transmitted by an attacker are involved. Attackers can corrupt a victim's device or obtain access to a corporate network if they comply, such as by supplying confidential information or clicking a malicious link.
Ransomware poses a significant threat to data in businesses of all sizes. Ransomware attacks business equipment and encrypts data, rendering it worthless unless the decryption key is provided. Attackers display a ransom notice requesting payment in order to release the key; however, in many situations, paying the ransom is futile, and the data is lost. Many varieties of ransomware have the ability to spread quickly and attack huge areas of a company's network. There may be no way to recover if an organization does not keep regular backups or if the ransomware infects the backup systems.
- Data Loss in the Cloud
The risk of data loss exists in the cloud, just as it does with hardware-based storage technology. Back-ups, security software, redundancy, and other security solutions are available for both circumstances. Many businesses are migrating their data to the cloud to make sharing and collaboration easier. When data is moved to the cloud, however, it becomes more difficult to manage and avoid data loss. Personal devices and insecure networks are used to access data. It's all too easy to unintentionally or maliciously share a file with unauthorized parties.
Types of Data Security
- Access Controls
Limiting both physical and digital access to essential systems and data is an example of this type of data security policy. This involves ensuring that all computers and gadgets are password-protected and those physical areas are only accessible to authorized personnel.
Authentication, like access restrictions, refers to precisely identifying users before they gain access to data. Passwords, PIN numbers, security tokens, swipe cards, and biometrics are common examples.
- Backups & Recovery
In the case of a system failure, disaster, data corruption, or breach, good data security means you have a plan in place to safely access data. To recover, if necessary, you'll need a backup data copy kept on a distinct format such as a hard drive, local network, or cloud.
- Data Erasure
You'll want to appropriately dispose of data on a regular basis. Data erasure is more secure than traditional data wiping since it uses software to entirely overwrite data on any storage device. Data erasure ensures that data cannot be recovered and so will not fall into the wrong hands.
- Data Masking
Data masking software obscures letters and numbers with proxy characters, hiding information. Even if an unauthorized entity has access to the data, it is effectively masked. Only when an authorized user obtains the data does it revert to its original state.
- Data Resiliency
Your systems will be able to withstand or recover from failures if you have comprehensive data security. By incorporating resiliency into your hardware and software, you can ensure that security is not jeopardized by events such as power outages or natural catastrophes.
Using encryption keys, a computer algorithm converts text characters into an unreadable format. The material can only be unlocked and accessed by authorized persons who have the appropriate keys. To some extent, everything from files and databases to email exchanges can — and should — be secured.
What Technologies Help with Data Security?
Modern data security procedures entail putting in place a comprehensive set of safeguards. Data security solutions can aid your organization in preventing breaches, reducing risk, and maintaining protective security measures.
- Data Auditing
Because security breaches are almost always unavoidable, you'll need a strategy in place that identifies the source of the problem. Control modifications to data, records of who accessed sensitive information, and the file path used are all captured and reported on by data auditing software systems. All of these audit methods are critical to the investigation of a data breach. Data auditing solutions also give IT managers visibility into unauthorized modifications and potential breaches, which helps them prevent them.
- Data Real-Time Alerts
Typically, it takes several months for businesses to learn that a data breach has occurred. Customers, third-party vendors, and contractors, rather than the company's own IT staff, are frequently used to uncover breaches. You'll be able to detect breaches more rapidly if you use real-time systems and data monitoring technology. This protects personal data from destruction, loss, alteration, or unauthorized access.
- Data Risk Assessment
A data risk assessment will assist your company in identifying the most sensitive and overexposed data. A comprehensive risk assessment will also provide dependable and repeatable strategies for prioritizing and addressing major security threats. The procedure begins by identifying sensitive data that is accessed via global groups, data that has gotten stale, or data that has permissions that are inconsistent. A thorough risk assessment will highlight key findings, reveal vulnerabilities, and provide prioritized remedy recommendations.
- Data Minimization
Historically, companies saw having as much data as possible as a positive. It was always possible that it would come in handy at some point in the future. From a security aspect, big amounts of data are now considered a liability. The more data you have, the more potential targets you have for hackers. As a result, data reduction has become a crucial security strategy. Never store more data than is necessary, and adhere to all data reduction guidelines.
Data security isn't a one-time endeavor. There is no magic wand that can ensure the complete security of your data at all times. Instead, think of data security as a continuous, company-wide effort. The key to keeping your data secure is to develop risk-based data security processes. You can strengthen both data security and compliance by identifying and classifying your data, analyzing and minimizing IT risks, and implementing suitable controls.