Data Security

What is data security?

Data security is the practice of safeguarding digital information from exposure, theft, and destruction by adopting a series of security policies and procedures. These policies and procedures can include system security, device management, access control, classification, auditing, proactive threat hunting, incident response, etc.

Importance of data security

Organizations store and process enormous volumes of data—both trivial and sensitive—such as financial records, intellectual property, and customers' personal data. It's vital that all this information stays secure within the network. A lack of stringent data security measures can have severe ramifications. Consider these scenarios:

  • Loss, leak, or exposure of sensitive information:

    Sensitive personal data such as personally identifiable information (PII), electronic protected health information (ePHI), and payment card information (PCI) can fall into the hands of malicious actors.

  • Compliance penalties:

    Several regulatory bodies mandate that sensitive data be handled and stored securely, and a failure to do so will result in the organization incurring huge fines, litigation fees, prolonged forensic analysis, and damage to its reputation.

Incidents such as data leaks and compliance breaches could leave a lasting impact on your brand reputation and customer trust, apart from potentially costing you millions of dollars in penalties. It's imperative for security analysts to be aware of the different data security techniques that are available to them to safeguard the organization from these dire consequences.

Data security types

Data security techniques help organizations prevent data loss, adhere to compliance regulations, and secure their network from potential threats. Here are a few of the different types of data security techniques:

  • Encryption

    Encryption is the process of encoding data to prevent unauthorized access. It uses algorithms to scramble data, making it inaccessible without a decryption key.

  • Data masking

    Data masking is the technique of replacing legitimate data with fictitious or randomized values to conceal the original data. It is used for software testing and user training.

  • Data resiliency

    Data resiliency focuses on the availability and integrity of data. It utilizes measures like data backups, redundancy removal, and recovery management to prevent and recover from data loss.

  • Data erasure

    Data erasure involves permanently removing outdated and non-essential data from systems. Even though obsolete data might contain sensitive information, organizations often neglect securing it due to its lack of current business relevance. This oversight in implementing necessary access controls can potentially result in data breaches. Conducting routine erasure for obsolete data is essential for mitigating the risk of such breaches.

Choosing the right data security techniques helps maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your sensitive data.

Components of data security

Organizations rely on the CIA triad of data security to build their cybersecurity framework. The CIA triad consists of:

  • Data confidentiality: The protection of data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or theft.
  • Data integrity: The assurance that information is accurate, complete, and consistent, without being compromised throughout its life cycle.
  • Data availability: The certainty that all business-critical data is available at any time for use by authorized individuals.

Ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your sensitive data enables better data-driven decisions. It's important to have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of data security and maintain the triad by safeguarding it against potential threats.

Data security threats

Data security threats can compromise your security by breaking the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data. A few data security threats to be wary of are:

  • Insider threat: Insider threats arise from people currently or previously associated with the organization, including existing employees, former employees, vendors, and partners.
  • Data breach: Data breaches are security incidents that expose sensitive data such as PII, PCI, as well as intellectual property (IP) and other confidential data in an unauthorized manner.
  • Data leakage: These involve unauthorized or accidental transmission of data from an organization. This could occur through various means, including from email and data on USB devices.
  • Ransomware attack: Ransomware is malicious software used by cybercriminals to encrypt victim's data and demand a ransom for decryption.
  • Shadow IT: Shadow IT is the practice of accessing unsanctioned applications, this could lead to data loss and system compromise.

These threats can wreak havoc in your network, and not having appropriate security measures could be low-hanging fruit for threat attackers. Having the correct data security measures in place can make your network resilient against such threats.

Types of data security measures

Organizations use a plethora of tools and resources to maintain the principle of least privilege (PoLP), audit data access and permissions, streamline incident response, assess risks, and prevent data loss. Here's a list of measures administrators must take to secure data and the corresponding solutions provided by DataSecurity Plus.

Data security methods What you should do How DataSecurity Plus helps
Access control Regulate who can access what files based on their role in the organization. Data access governance
Discover and monitor access to your sensitive personal data (PII/ ePHI) and accelerate incident response.
Data auditing Keep track of all file accesses and modifications. Ensure continuous audit trails to facilitate quick forensic investigation in case of a security breach. File access auditing
Audit all file changes made across both local and shared network drives in real time.
Incident response Generate instant alerts and automate your threat response when spotting malicious file activities that might indicate potential attacks. File integrity monitoring
Stay informed of all high-risk file activities that occur by generating e-notifications instantly.
Shut down infected systems, disconnect rogue user sessions, and more using preconfigured scripts.
Data risk assessment Locate where sensitive personal data (PII, ePHI, and PCI) is present in your data stores and analyze its vulnerabilities. Data risk assessment
Identify files containing sensitive personal data, its owners, and the risk associated with it.
Malware protection Protect your IT network assets from Trojans, worms, ransomware, malware, and other similar threats. Ransomware detection
Detect and contain potential ransomware infections instantly by shutting down infected devices, disconnecting compromised users accounts from the network, and much more to prevent devastating data loss.
Email security Secure your email account and its contents from unauthorized access, misuse, and loss. Data loss prevention
Restrict the movement of business-critical data via email attachments.
Use on-screen pop-ups to warn users about the risk involved in moving confidential data via email attachments.
Endpoint security Protect endpoint devices so that data is not lost through end-user devices like desktops and removable storage devices. Data leak prevention (DLP)
Use predefined DLP policies to prevent unwarranted data transfers to USB devices, monitor file integrity, and more.
Restrict movement of business-critical data to USBs, email (Outlook), printers, and more.
Data minimization Purge redundant, outdated, and trivial (ROT) data and other junk data that is no longer in use to avoid data hoarding. ROT data analysis
Find and manage old, stale, duplicate, orphaned, and non-business files to help optimize disk usage.
Privilege management Conduct routine checks to ensure the principle of least privilege is applied across your organization. Permission analyzer
Generate periodic reports on share and NTFS permissions.

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DataSecurity Plus is a one-stop solution for all data security needs in your organization.

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