Data security is critical for most businesses and even for home computers. Client information, payment information, bank details and other similar data are hard to replace if it falls into the wrong hands. Data can be lost due to disasters such as flood or fire, but losing it to hackers or malware infection can have greater consequences. Security is a prime consideration also when outsourcing data entry to an external provider and when using other outsourced solutions.
Significance of Data Centric Security
Cyber attacks are crimes that are targeted at computer systems that consist of computer viruses, phishing, spoofing etc and it also comprise crimes in which computers are used to steal money, personal or financial data, intellectual property and so on. Cyber attack falls into two categories- breaches in data security and sabotage. Personal data, intellectual property and other information related to your company’s transaction are targets for data security breach whereas sabotage refers to a form of denial of service attacks and more conventional methods to disable systems and infrastructure. As technology advances, cyber crime continues to rise despite best efforts from government agencies and cyber security experts. Technical innovations provide new online dangers and the emphasis on mobile service has opened up corporate systems to more users, thereby increasing the opportunity to penetrate security measures.
A data centric approach to cyber security helps to focus on what you need to protect rather than the IT infrastructure that houses smaller share of data each year. Protecting sensitive information in files and databases allows you to take advantage of cloud computing, mobile technology and other innovations without placing your organization at risk.
A successful data centric security strategy aligns technology, business processes and user workflow that ensure organizational control over sensitive data at all times. Proper strategy development begins with assessing the types of data generated by the organization, processes and exchange as well as the user groups and systems that interact with each data type.
Each company has different types of sensitive data that include intellectual property, financial data, customers’ personal information and so on covered by a legal mandate. The key components of a typical data protection strategy are as follows:
- The first and foremost step in protecting data is knowing the amount of sensitive data you own and where it is located. Data discovery is the process of scanning files and folders and comparing the contents with an organization’s definition of sensitive data. Classification is the process of tagging files with metadata that indicates what types of information the file contains. These functions can be performed in conjunction with each other or handled by separate technologies, but in either case the objective is to find and identify sensitive data so that it can be well protected.
- Data loss prevention (DLP) or data leakage prevention is focused on data in transit like outgoing email. File contents are verified and messages are either allowed to proceed or re-routed for remediation based on the organization’s security policies. DLP is more effective when integrated with an encryption and key management solutions.
- Encryption is the most effective way of protecting sensitive data against any theft or misuse. Encryption of data is possible using a strong algorithm such as A ES- 256. There are many forms of encryption that you can choose from. It protects data while at rest or while travelling across a network. Persistent encryption is the most secure way to protect data both at rest and in motion.
- Encryption of data is a must in organizations and it should be a system where the employees are able to decrypt the data and use the file they need, without allowing unauthorized users to access the data. Encryption key management is a process of creating, exchanging, updating and revoking encryption keys that can be quite complex. But with new technologies, these burdensome functions are automated and become much easier to operate.
- As data volumes continue to grow, companies have to face more pressure and need to understand and document how their data is being stored and used. Robust reporting and auditing tools are important not only for internal control, but to demonstrate your organization’s compliance with data protection mandates such as the General Data Protection Regulation.
- No data protection strategy can be complete without proper education of employees who create and use a company’s data. Making it easier for employees to follow your organization’s policies will greatly reduce the possibility of users attempting to circumvent the process you have put in place.
Be it a small firm or a well-established one, data security is important for all businesses. Understanding the importance of data security will help businesses to protect their data from theft or misuse. With a data centric security strategy, cyber threats becomes easier to manage and IT security can become an enabler of future innovation. Businesses can also keep their existing data clean with the help of data cleansing services and gain insight from clean and reliable data.