Data security is important, as technology has become an intricate part of conducting business. It continues to offer speed, convenience, and access to the best selection. Every business out there has a responsibility to consumers to keep their data safe and secure. It isn’t enough to have basic measures in place. A data breach can cause people not to trust your company or buy from you. While that isn’t fair, it happens!
Security breaches happen because criminals look for vulnerable targets. They have various tools and methods they use to check the security of a given business site. If they find they can gain access, they will take that information and use it for their own gain. They know there is very little chance they will get caught. The cloak of darkness allows them to take chances with very few of them ever getting caught.
The Importance of Data Security Continues to Grow
Protecting the personal information of customers and your business information from criminals is essential. Sometimes, you have to protect the information from those that are in-house. Different levels of security for different employees are a good idea. This allows them to only access what they need to complete job tasks. There is also a record of who logged in and what they viewed.
Any type of business and any size of business are vulnerable to a data breach. Rather than hoping for the best, being proactive and adding layers of safeguards in place will help reduce that risk. A criminal isn’t going to stick around when they discover a business has the best security in place. They are going to move on, in search of an easier target.
Data security needs to include the actual storage devices and the hardware of the system too. It doesn’t just apply to the software used or the policies in place for the organization. Developing top-notch strategies to implement and monitor helps to reduce the risk of cybercriminals getting access to any information. It helps prevent inside theft or even human mistakes that could cost the business money.
When it comes to data security, there has to be a solid foundation. From there, you continue to monitor it and modify it as needed. As technology changes, as criminals find new methods of access, and as options for protection improve you can continue to have the highest level of security in place.
There are various tools and information to help identify how to offer protection. Data encryption and data masking are two concepts worth implementing. They are just a small part of what can be done with data security. A business should feel confident what they have in place offers them a powerful line of defense! Such efforts make it possible to keep everything secure, to meet regulations, and to complete audits.
Challenges Businesses Face with Data Security
Business owners have their hands full, there is so much to keep track of. There is so much to do in order to keep moving forward. It can be a challenge at times due to the economy, COVID-19, competitors, and changes to consumer trends. On top of all of that, there is the issue of data security to think about. We live in a digital world, and that isn’t going to change. In fact, it is going to continue to get larger and larger.
This plays a vital role in how businesses compete for customers. It plays a role in how they operate their business and promote it. The amount of data a business has stored can be unbelievable! Even a small business has plenty of it, and that information is valuable to criminals. All of this means there is a greater need now than before to protect all of it. Consumers have to feel the information they give isn’t going to be compromised and create problems for them.
This creates a challenge for any business. On one hand, they have to be efficient and strive to cut costs. On the other, they need cutting-edge technology to help them have the best to offer. This includes amazing data security in place at all times. They have to stay several steps ahead of the criminals to avoid being taken advantage of.
There are complex systems in the mix, and they have to be operating correctly at all times. This is the only way the flow of the business stays moving along. It allows consumers to buy products or services. It allows employees to complete their tasks. At the same time, it has to allow information to be monitored and give alerts of any potential security breaches.
With some of the data being stored in the cloud and some of it on remote servers, there is more to monitor than in the past. This all creates some unique challenges for business owners to deal with. On the other hand, putting a solid plan into motion is less of a problem than being a target of criminal activity.
Consumers want to know how their information will be protected. If a business can’t provide good information they may buy from a competitor. They don’t want to take the risk their information would be compromised. To help protect consumers, government regulations continue to put more pressure and requirements on business owners.
The goal of such regulations is to ensure businesses are taking the responsibility of data security seriously. These organizations offer information, they may follow up with businesses, and they often look into security breaches to see if there was something more the business should have done. If they didn’t take reasonable steps to protect the information, they could be held responsible for the data breach. This can be a very expensive lesson!
Some of these regulatory agencies include:
- CCPA – California Consumer Protection Act
- GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
- HIPPA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- SOX – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
While each regulatory agency has its own sector they focus on, all of them have a united goal in mind. They strive to hold businesses accountable when it comes to data security. They can issue fines to send a clear message not safeguarding customer information isn’t going to be allowed. Consumers rely on a business to be trustworthy and to help them when it comes to keeping all of their information private. This includes financial data, personal data of where they reside, and their health records.
Understanding the Types of Data Security Available
A solid plan of action for data security within a business doesn’t cover just one aspect. Instead, it has multi-layers, with each of them working with the others. This means if a hacker has to get through one layer into the business information, they likely can’t get into the ones behind it. Such re-enforcements allow alerts to go out about a potential security breach so it can be resolved immediately.
There are several types of data security available. Each of them has important concepts to contribute. The mix of them used within a given business depends on the type of data they store and the type of business they operate. Such types of data security include:
- Encryption – Algorithms are used to change the text characters into a format that can’t be read. The keys used to encrypt them are also mixed up. Only those with the right credentials are able to read the information. This type of data security is often used when information is sensitive such as account numbers or credit card/ debit card information.
- Data Erasure – This is a type of software used to overwrite data stored on a device when it is no longer needed. It has replaced the process of data wiping for many businesses. The process ensures none of the data which has been erased can be recovered later on.
- Data Masking – Applications are used to mask data, ensuring it is only seen by those that need to have access to it. Sensitive information which can personally identify the person those details belongs to are masked so they can’t be linked back to that person. The apps are developed to code in a manner that offers security and stays in compliance.
- Data Resiliency – This is a type of testing used to determine if a business would be vulnerable to hacking. Would they be able to recover their information after an interruption such as a hardware failure or power outage? How it would be completed and how long it would take is evaluated. The goal is to find the weak links and modify them so it is a strong line of defense. Reducing data breaches even when there is something out of the ordinary taking place is essential.
Tools and Technology
When it comes to data security, the best tools and technology have to be in place. They are designed to tackle the various challenges that come with such protection. They have to account for the multitude of tasks and storage that take place within a given business situation. This includes:
- Access credentials for cloud-based computing
- Adding or removing access credentials when employees are hired or no longer work there
- Centralized approach to monitoring activity
- Enforce policies and regulations
- Identifying the data stored and where it is stored
- Identifying and investigating any high-risk activities noted
- Identifying any out of the ordinary file access or moving
Some tools are used for data discovery and classification. They can be used when there is sensitive information being stored. Such information may be located in the cloud or in a database. These tools help to automate the process of identifying any vulnerable areas in the system. They are very useful when it comes to protecting sensitive details.
Data and file monitoring tools help to identify the patterns of use from certain login credentials. They also help reduce risk by identifying anything out of the ordinary. Being able to block access when something is amiss allows abnormal activities to be analyzed. Further action can be taken if necessary once the details have been reviewed.
A business doesn’t want to wait until there is a data breach for them to realize they were vulnerable. Instead, tools that check for any weak areas can help with eliminating those vulnerable concepts. They can be replaced with better software, stronger passwords, and changes to the configuration can add more layers of overall protection.
Strategies to help with Data Security
The overall strategy for data security has to evolve with changes to technology. Breaches that happen in other organizations can pave the way for new patches and tools to be introduced. Careful monitoring can help to address any vulnerable areas before they turn into a serious problem. Staying ahead of the criminals is vital to protection, so the strategy should always be a work in progress.
An excellent strategy is going to be diversified, making sure there aren’t any areas that fall through the cracks. This includes:
- Access management – The days of across the board access should no longer be in place for any business. Instead, the level of access should depend on the tasks the employee is responsible for. This should flow through IT, with a record of all logins and what was accessed. Such records can be useful if there is anything out of the ordinary detected.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) – The use of human thought patterns implemented into a computer system allows for great monitoring to take place. It can help make fast decisions when there is a potential breach.
- Automated reporting capabilities – Such internal auditing allows controls to be set based on policies and regulations within the business. It allows the level of security to be set for given information based on how sensitive it is.
- Backup – A business needs to have a backup in place of data in case there is a system issue. However, it is essential to make sure the backup is just as secure as the original system.
- Educate employees – Get all employees on board with data security. They should protect their password and report anything unusual. Their input early on can help prevent a serious issue if they know what to look for and how to report it.
- Endpoint security monitoring – Reduce the risk of a breach is important and it starts is done with endpoint security. This involves monitoring all of it from start to finish. It includes what is in-house and what is stored in the cloud. Such monitoring can identify potential threats and resolve them.
- Patching – A business doesn’t need new software all the time. They can’t let software that isn’t current allow them to be vulnerable either. Patching is the process of updating to the newest version as soon as it is released. The business will stay current and have the best security in place.
- Servers and other devices – All devices where data is stored have to be secure. This includes those on-site, the cloud, and those through an external third party. The right controls in place will help offer the best level of protection. Working closely with cloud providers and external storage providers is essential
- Quantum – This is a high-tech process and one that takes technology to the highest level available today. It involves complex encryption and security that is extremely hard to breach.
Keeping a Business Safe
With an efficient data security strategy in motion, a business can be safe. It can continue to rely on technology and give customers what they seek. At the same time, it can lower the risk of information getting into the wrong hands. The approach should be to eliminate risk and avoid problems through analysis and detection processing. The goal is to protect sensitive information and ensure only those that need to access it are doing so.
The policies will need to be modified as will the procedures. When it comes to data security, it is a work in progress at all times. As new information comes to light, there will be better tools and methods to stay secure. Embracing them and implementing the best practices ensures a business can be strong, secure, and one with a good reputation.
One of the biggest changes to data storage has been the movement to the cloud. It offers plenty of benefits including real-time details. It also allows employees to work on information from any location once they use their login credentials. This type of storage also means staying on top of how to keep all of the cloud-based information secure.
One of the risks a business has to look at is allowing personal devices including computers and mobile devices to be used for business purposes. Most businesses allow this for the convenience of employees, but it may not be the most secure option. If employees are allowed to use such devices, they should be mandated to install the corporate software on it for the best level of security. Data encryption and the use of strong passwords are also helpful steps to take to fight data security breaches.