In the age of information technology, data security is major concern as information, and data are collected, processed, and stored in the computers. The data is also shared over the networks across the globe through different digital devices. Of course, that’s a key premise of Information technology. But, data, devices, and networks are prone to fishing and cyber-attacks to steal the data and to manipulate it.
With the expansion of cloud services, organizations and enterprises are increasingly relying on cloud sources for the data, software, and other computing requirements. Adding to that, the Corona pandemic disrupted the idea of what is considered to be a normal office where all the computing infrastructure is located, Now, it gave way to the constellation of many home offices due to lockdowns and social distance measures in place to contain the spread of the virus. Most of the organizations switched to remote working causing a huge demand on the digital infrastructures across the globe.
The major worry of all the Information technology companies and stakeholders is data security. More than ever now.
What is Data Security?
Different kinds of organizations, including government and private, corporate, and military, medical and financial companies collect data and store in computers. Often the data could be sensitive personal and financial data or intellectual property information; it can be misused with catastrophic consequences to individuals and organizations. Hence, the need to safeguard the information, data, and devices to stop unauthorized access, and data corruption.
Using a set of protocols, standards, and technologies to make data encryption, tokenization, and hashing to protect it from illegal access, or modification and destruction, is called the Data Security.
Data security can be achieved by organizational and administration controls, physical regulations, logical control, and many other safety techniques.
Is it different from Cyber Security?
Often, Data security and cybersecurity are used interchangeably but there is some difference. Cybersecurity deals with networks, devices, programs, and data, whereas Data security exclusively focused on data. Of course, data is breached, stolen, and manipulated through systems and programs, it also deals with all the above.
In simple words, Cyber security is about securing entire ICT mechanisms whereas the later is solely dedicated to the security of the data.
How does Data Security Matters?
Dealing with data, for that matter, large amounts of data including sensitive data are inevitable for many organizations in their day-to-day activities. Often that data includes financial data of the organization and the personal information of customers. Access to such data or tampering it by external attackers will have a serious fallout for the organizations. Whatever may the data, the security of the same is the responsibility of the organization it collects. Multinationals like Google and Microsoft have been heavily penalized by the regulators for not keeping the data safe. Almost, every region has its own data protection guidelines. The organization which collects data needs to keep it safe by adhering to the regulatory standards.
Imagine data being accessed or stolen from your organization? The fallout of the same is irrevocable often for small and medium players. Hence data security is of paramount importance for organizations to protect the customers as well as their brand and the intellectual capital.
Different Types of Data Security
Data security uses different technologies, protocols, and processes to safeguard the data from external threats as well as internal threats. Let’s examine different data security techniques.
Each and every bit of data can be encrypted with a code. It not only makes the data inaccessible also requires authentication like a pin or password to access data. It can be taken up on Cloud, for enterprise and mobile data environment as well.
Another way to secure data includes data masking. Masking a specific portion of data protects it from external sources when exposed. Although some portion of data is visible, without the masked data it renders useless. One example of this masking is certain numbers in the credit card and bank account while delivering the statements.
In Tokenization, the sensitive data is substituted with random characters that can’t be reversible algorithmically. Hence, heightened safety. The combination of data and its relation with the characters is stored elsewhere adding an additional layer of security.
Back up & Recovery
Data can be lost for many reasons like system failure, natural disaster, or data breach, or corruption. Data security should also include a recovery option in case data is lost. Keeping data backup on a regular basis helps to ensure that data is secure.
Backup could be anything from storing in on another device or cloud or any new disk and ensuring the regular backing up.
Erasure and Deletions
When data is not used anymore, it needs to be erased properly for security purposes. Usual deleting is not the erasure of data. Most of the deleted data can be retrieved easily. So, in order to ensure the data is erased, it needs permanently erased by overwriting.
Access Control and authentication
Authentication is the most used and primary technique to secure data. Where the user credentials are verified with the pre-stored data keys including the passwords, pins, and keys.
One way to secure data is to control access to it. The access can be granted as per need-based, role-based so that nobody has access to the data that is not used by them.