What Is Data Security, Really?

By now, you’re probably used to seeing data breaches in the news cycle. From the SolarWinds cyberattack to the Equifax data breach settlements, these events have become so common it’s tempting to dismiss them as “business as usual.” In this digital world, shouldn’t we basically expect these things to happen? 

Yes, we should—which is exactly why you need to be ready. According to a study by IBM, the average data breach cost victims an average of $3.86 million, or $148 per stolen record. There’s also the human cost to consider: What happens to your customers and employees if you can’t keep their information safe? 

At this point, data security is an absolute must. It’s also one of the best investments you can make in your business. Here’s what you should know. 

What Types of Data Security Are There? 

There are four types of data security, each playing a role in a comprehensive solution. Here’s a high-level view of what these four areas entail: 

1. Data Encryption 

Remember when you wrote in secret codes as a kid? Encryption works on a similar principle but is tougher to decode by several orders of magnitude. The bottom line: It makes your data unreadable to anyone who lacks the authorization. 

2. Data Masking 

In some cases, your organization may use real data for training purposes or to develop products. Data masking hides any personally identifiable information from such data in order to help keep it, and the people who provided it, safe. 

3. Data Erasure 

Emptying your computer’s trash can doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to data security. Determined hackers can find ways to access improperly deleted information. Data erasure ensures that your discarded data is permanently unrecoverable. 

4. Data Resiliency 

How’s your recovery time? When problems arise that affect your ability to access data—from power outages to busted hardware—your data resiliency determines how fast you can regain access to the information you need. 

What Are Good Strategies for Data Security? 

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to data security. Instead, you’ll achieve the best results by implementing an ongoing plan that includes not just technology but also buy-in from your people and updates to your processes. You may also consider bringing in the experts to help you stay ahead of the latest threats and prepare your people to act

A comprehensive strategy will include consideration for things like how to protect your physical servers and company devices. It will incorporate a plan for access management and application security to ensure only the right people have access to critical data. Finally, a good strategy depends on good training. Your employees play a key role in your data security because they access and share important data every day. You’ll want to be sure to bring them along on your journey to improved data security. 

What Kinds of Capabilities and Solutions Are Available? 

Data security is so complex in part because businesses work in complicated technological environments. You may rely on on-site servers, cloud applications, personal and company devices, and users with varied levels of access (to name just a few factors). Having all these options is great for your business, but it can certainly put your data security in a pickle. 

Fortunately, security solutions exist to address this complexity. Data assessments can help determine what information you have, where it is kept, and what might be missing. Active file monitoring and threat assessment can also help your organization stay ahead of potential dangers. You can find plenty of all-encompassing solutions on the market; just be sure they cover data encryption, data masking, data erasure, and data resiliency to get the best value. In any case, it takes constant vigilance and a passion for problem solving to keep your data secure. 

How Does Data Security Fit with Other Aspects of Digital Security? 

By now, you can probably see why data security is only one aspect of a more comprehensive digital security plan. Your data security strategy needs to connect with your overall approach to things like cloud security and device protection. All of these pieces should fit together like a good suit of armor, minimizing your vulnerabilities and limiting opportunities for an attacker to strike. 

If this feels like new territory for you, that’s okay. This could be the start of a great, positive change in your organization—one that will protect your business and the people you serve. 

As long as data exists, so will cybersecurity threats. We can help you comprehensively combat them.



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