Data security 101: Everything you need to know

According to the newest report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 is $6.38 million. This figure is up 10% in the past five years, highlighting how valuable data is and why cybercriminals are relentless in their pursuits to steal it. What’s even more terrifying is that data is more vulnerable than ever, largely due to the rising rates of remote work adoption and cloud migration.

What is data security?

Data security is the process of protecting data such as client payment information, application data, employee databases, and business trade secrets by using best practices, policies, software, solutions, and other means.

The three core elements of data security are confidentiality, integrity, and availability — also known as the CIA triad. This security model guides organizations on how they should protect data from unauthorized access or exfiltration.

  • Confidentiality ensures that data can only be accessed by authorized users.
  • Integrity ensures that data is always reliable and accurate.
  • Availability ensures that data is always accessible.

Data security considerations

A comprehensive and efficient data security model must address the following considerations:

  • Data location – Knowing where your sensitive data is stored will help you choose the right data security solutions. For instance, pieces of information stored in-house and those stored in the cloud will need different security measures.
  • Data access – Distinguish between who should have access to certain data and who currently has access to it. This will reveal who has excessive permissions that can be abused or misused.
  • Continuous data monitoring and real-time alerting – These two are not only necessary to meet compliance, but are also critical in identifying, mitigating, and containing suspicious activities before they can cripple your operations.

Data security solutions for businesses

Every business, no matter the size, should have these essential pillars of data security:

1. Encryption – Encrypt your data both at rest or in transit. Encryption turns data into indecipherable codes that are impossible to read without a decryption key. Even if your systems get hacked and unauthorized individuals get a hold of your files, encrypted data will be incomprehensible — hence, useless — to them.

2. Authentication – Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of users before giving them access to data. Passwords are the most common authentication method, but they’re far from being the safest. So always enable multifactor authentication, which denies user access unless they provide a unique identification code such as a fingerprint or a one-time password sent to a registered device.

3. Access control – Access control allows administrators to assign data permissions on a per-employee basis so that everyone has access only to data that is relevant to their roles. This not only makes the handling of sensitive data easier, but it also prevents unauthorized users from accessing the entire system should they get their hands on an employee’s login credentials.

4. Backup and recovery – Having a backup and recovery plan is essential to business continuity. Should a cyberattack or a natural disaster befall your company, you must be able to recover data in a timely manner to avoid financial, reputational, and other kinds of damage. Follow the 3-2-1 rule in data backup: keep at least three copies of your data by always having two backups of the primary copy, and store one of those backups off-site.

5. Mobile device management – Now that remote working is quickly becoming the norm and employees are connecting to poorly protected home networks, mobile device management (MDM) is more crucial than ever. MDM software allows you to monitor and limit the data being shared and accessed by your staff, and lets you roll software updates and install security patches remotely. If devices containing sensitive data are lost or stolen, MDM administrators can also remotely wipe those devices clean of their content so business data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Secure your data 24/7 with SpectrumWise

SpectrumWise is a managed services provider (MSP) that offers seven layers of security, including encryption solutions, access control measures, smart backups, and other data security essentials. Our security experts proactively monitor business networks for any suspicious activity, and constantly test systems to find and remediate weak spots.

More than ever, you need a technology partner that will ensure round-the-clock data protection. Partner with SpectrumWise today.


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