Data Security: What Is It & Why Is It Important
Updated: Oct 27
As the world goes digital, we all spend an increasing amount of time online, both for personal and business reasons. This has increased reliance on the Internet and digital platforms and networks. While this presents a convenient way of doing business, it also creates an environment ripe for online criminals and hackers that can be difficult to deal with.
Data is one of your organization's most important assets, so it is critical to keep it safe from online criminals. Organizations and governments all over the globe are introducing new data privacy regulations. This means businesses must make sure they have the tools in place to show that they are compliant with the pertinent supervisory authorities.
IT environments have become increasingly more distributed due to an increase in remote employees and the increased use of cloud services. This has also changed not only the way businesses think about data security but their awareness of its importance.
As the old-school moat-and-castle method of keeping our essential assets – our data – becomes less relevant, data security methods have shifted to a more data-centric approach that focuses more on people and the way they interact with data.
What Is Data Security?
The changing data security landscape prompts the question: What is data security? Simply put, the data security definition covers both the practices and technology of protecting sensitive and valuable customer and company data, such as financial and personal information.
Bring to mind all the valuable information your company collects, stores, and manages. This includes information such as payment or financial data, sensitive personal information about customers and employees, and intellectual property about your business. This information is a goldmine for hackers should they get their hands on it. This makes data security a crucial part of protecting your company's fiscal health and its reputation.
Why Is Data Security Important?
With recent data breaches and hacks taking down the largest fuel pipeline in the US, and a total of 878,17 million data records compromised worldwide in January 2021 alone, this year looks like it will break records in terms of breach volumes. And as technological advances continue to increase the availability of valuable and sensitive data on digital platforms, networks, and systems.
This attracts a large number of cyber threats and other cyber-criminal activity. While the digital world has made some processes convenient and easy, they can only be reliable if the proper measures are used to ensure our information is kept safe from digital security risks.
Privacy, security, and user-friendliness of systems and platforms are all important elements. However, you may have to trade one thing for another. For instance, privacy or security for a user-friendly platform. Businesses often find that they need to choose which elements are best suited for their organizations. When determining the user-friendliness of networks and platforms, the privacy and security of the information and data involved need to be considered.
If your sensitive data and information fall into the wrong hands, it could become a crisis. A data breach can cost you real money and much more in damage to your reputation, loss or damage done to irreplaceable files, loss of confidence in your business, and loss of financial support. Here are some of the many reasons why all businesses need data security solutions.
Prevents Loss of Reputation
The magnitude of a data breach and its effect on the company or organization is almost immeasurable. It can take a long time to recover from such an event. It not only affects the business's operations and success but also damages the hard-earned trust of customers and employees. Data security lowers the risk of such a crisis and the negative effects that follow.
Protects against the Increased Rate of Cyber Insecurities
Due to the increased use of electronic devices and Internet systems and platforms, cyber threats are rising. Increased use of social media, smartphones and eCommerce means we all have more sensitive personal information online. And cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their methods.
The rise of the Internet and the digital environment allows us to connect through email, social media, and other apps. It also offers an opportunity for unknowing victims to be exploited.
Data security helps prevent or reduce the possibility of data breaches that target your organization or business. All businesses, large or small, need to take the proper measures to make sure their data is not compromised.
Protects against Third-Party Risks
Often, websites, businesses, and even government entities collect data. This gives them access to more information than you may want them to have and puts your sensitive data at risk for exploitation. Regulations that protect data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted in the EU, limit the way tech companies handle their user data, but it does not limit all risks. Installing a data security system and measures will protect vulnerable data from possible attacks.
Secure Monetary Transactions
We've all gotten used to and are comfortable with instant money transactions over the Internet. However, the process opens us up to dangerous risks if safety precautions are ignored. Data security ensures that monetary transactions over the Internet are safe and secure.
Stabilizes Network Security
Stabilizing your network security means that your data and your client's sensitive information are safe from the exploitation often caused by cybercrimes. This is an important reason why businesses need data security when they use digital systems and networks. Data security can help reduce the risk of a business's database being compromised and the resultant data theft or sabotage. Or both.
Fixing a Data Breach Is Expensive
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in the data security world. You can recover from a cyber data attack, you may even get your data back, but doing so is much more expensive than preventing the attack in the first place. And the cost may last for years in terms of trust and reputation.
Technologies Used to Secure Data
Securing and protecting digital data from malicious actors and cybercriminals are done with data security technology. This technology provides prevention measures that keep data safe from external and internal threats. The technologies used include:
Encryption is a standard method used to secure data that can be done in hardware and software. Encrypted data is placed on a hard disk drive and is rendered inaccessible by anyone who is unauthorized.
Backups & Recovery
Data security requires a plan for accessing your company and client data to prevent the loss of important documents and data in the event of disaster and system failure, as well as data corruption or a breach.
Regular data backup prevents the loss of important information. This entails making copies of your data and storing it on a different, separate system or media such as disk, tape, or the cloud.
Data masking – the process of hiding data by obscuring original data with proxy characters – is an effective method for protecting data from unauthorized access. The data is still there and is changed back to its original form when an authorized user receives it.
With tokenization, sensitive data is substituted with random characters and is not algorithmically reversible. The relationship between the token values and the data is stored in a protected database lookup table. This differs from encryption, where the characters are generated and then decrypted by a mathematical algorithm. The token that represents the read data is a replacement for the data across different systems, with the real data stored on a separate platform that is secure.
Data Deletions & Erasure
This software-based method ensures that electronic data that is no longer needed is cleared or overwritten so that it cannot be retrieved. Deletion is not the same as erasure, deletion simply hides the data in a way that makes it easy to retrieve.
Authentication is recommended to improve data security and protect it from data breaches. This technology verifies a user's entered credentials against the ones stored in the database. Standard authentication processes generally include multifactor authorization that includes a combination of more than one piece of identification information such as a password, PIN, security token, swipe card, or biometrics such as a fingerprint or eye scan.
This process is made easier with single sign-on technology that gives an authorized user access to multiple systems, applications, and platforms with one security token. Authentication technology determines the amount of access an authenticated user has and what they are allowed to see or do on your server or website.
Access control governs the type of access to your system granted to your system's users. The least restrictive type of access control, discretionary access control, allows access to resources according to the identity of users or groups. Role-based access assigns access based on the organizational role of a user and provides access to specific information only.
And lastly, mandatory access control allows a system administrator to tightly control access to all an organization's information.
Email is composed, saved, sent, and delivered in a series of steps that begin with the message's structure. Email service providers implement email security software that secures email subscriber accounts and data from hackers.
Data resiliency ensures that your data and network are available at all times. This entails the use of technologies that covers power outages along with other system failures.
Data Security Capabilities & Solutions for Your Business
The continuing trend of data breaches, along with the increasing privacy risks linked to social media, will continue to be a trend. On top of that, the value of business data has never been greater. This makes data security data increasingly critical to businesses of any size. If you are looking for a trusted IT solutions provider in Boca Raton or anywhere in South Florida, contact Flagler Technologies today at 561-229-1601 or contact us online.