Data security is a hot topic for good reason. Data breaches are everywhere this year and are expected to cost companies $10.5 trillion by the end of 2023. Given the fiscal and reputational costs of data security breaches, it is imperative that all companies have data cyber security plans.
But before we get there, we need to talk a little bit about IT data security itself. Data security means protecting digital information from unauthorized access, corruption or theft. It encompasses every part of information security, from the physical security of hardware to administrative and access controls, as well as the security of software applications.
That can all be a lot to take in, and while it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest data security trends, outsourcing part or all of your data security needs can often be a good option.
In this blog post, you’ll learn about data security, its different forms, importance, strategies and solutions for implementing it and the role of a managed solutions provider.
What Is Data Security?
Data security is a broad term that covers a wide range of functions and capabilities related to keeping data safe. It draws on different tools, technologies and processes in order to increase visibility into all aspects of sensitive data storage and use.
Before we dive any deeper, let’s cover some common terms that regularly pop up when discussing data security, including:
- Encryption: Converts data into code, typically to prevent unauthorized access
- Firewall: Filters users and actions based on a set of authorization parameters
- Malware: Malicious software designed to interfere with functionality or gain access to confidential data
- Phishing: Induces the reveal of personal or otherwise confidential information through fraudulent communications
- 2FA: Two-factor identification requires two modes of identification before allowing access
- VPN: A virtual private network masks the activity of those on it, creating greater security
- Intrusion detection system: Monitors your system for breaches and sends out alerts when they occur
- Data breach: The unauthorized dissemination of sensitive information via digital means
- SSL: A Secure sockets layer encrypts data sent and received over the internet
- Ransomware: A type of malware that makes sensitive information inaccessible until a ransom is paid
- DoS: An operating system that runs from a disk drive
Types of Data Security
There are many different types of data security that you may need depending on your organization. Most companies require a host of services to gain full protection, while others may only need a few. However, due to the digitally connected nature of today’s world, it’s important to be aware of the following types of data security, how they apply to businesses and some common challenges associated with each.
A broad term, network security refers to any activity or step taken to ensure the continued usability of your network along with the safety of confidential data contained therein. Keeping out phishing and other malware while maintaining open channels for authorized users are key difficulties in network security. Nearly all businesses run private networks that need to be kept secure, so this is one area you can’t afford to ignore.
This refers to a range of activities, tools and controls designed to protect the functionality and confidentiality of a database. With the host of customer and corporate information stored by organizations, database security needs to be a top priority. Insider threats and malware are two of the biggest potential issues in database security.
This refers to security at the application level designed to protect the integrity and functionality of data. Many companies use third-party applications as part of their technology scheme. Holes in application security can defeat efforts at all other levels. This makes it a key component of overall data security.
With a large majority of companies using some form of cloud-based storage, this is yet another layer organizations should worry about. Cloud security refers to any security measures to protect data security and usability at the cloud level. This can present a problem for companies as many don’t understand they are ultimately responsible for securing their cloud environments.
Referring to end-user devices (laptops, desktops, mobile phones, etc.), endpoint security is inclusive of any measures and practices taken to prevent malicious intrusion at the end-user level. Today, employees conduct business on a variety of devices, making this a growing challenge for companies.
Designed to protect individuals surfing the web, this type of security prevents unwanted intrusions into your network and devices from the internet. Most of us have been the victims of a malware attack at some point, and the potential costs for businesses can be devastating. However, the internet certainly isn’t going anywhere soon, so organizations need to be hypervigilant in this area.
Inclusive of everything above, information security is the holistic protection of non-public information, usually digital. Nearly all companies deal with confidential data and therefore need to have information security measures in place, although all the above challenges still apply.
Operational security refers to the plan and the measures it defines in order to keep private information safe. It is crucial that operational security be a main concern for businesses with sensitive data. It can be difficult to go this alone, so finding a strong partner is key.
Disaster Recovery/Continuity Planning
This refers to the plan and process to restore access to compromised systems and infrastructure after a cyber attack or ransomware demand. Like operational security, clearly defining and enacting an effective plan on your own can be hard. However, the ability to effectively restore your systems and data in a timely manner after an attack is key to remediating any losses.
The Importance of Data Security
As you’ve seen, data security is a wide-ranging topic of great importance to businesses. With a data breach in the US costing over twice the global average, there are serious consequences when one occurs. And they’re not just coming from one vector.
Stolen or compromised credentials can be particularly costly. It takes nearly a year on average to identify the source of this type of breach and can also go unnoticed for longer. That’s not to say that other types of breaches aren’t costly as well, with an average nine-month identification time for breaches in general. Ransomware attacks grew in number and cost per attack last year, and that trend is expected to continue. That’s to say nothing of other types of intrusions and insider attacks.
Picking the right partner can be crucial to ensuring your data is safe. They should be willing to educate you on all relevant topics, as well as provide top-notch data security.
Strategies and Solutions for Data Security
In order to keep your data secure, you need to have a plan in place. There are several steps organizations can take as part of this plan to help ensure IT data security.
Strong Access Control
Limiting who can access what information is essential in maintaining data security. This concept must be kept in mind when handing out permissions, or a breach is more likely to occur. Beyond the risk of breach, if data isn’t required to perform a job function, it’s ethically stronger to silo potentially sensitive information.
By scrambling data and turning it into code, encryption helps protect information from unauthorized access. An encryption strategy must look at the nature of the sensitive data, how it’s being used, its entry and exit points from an organization and any relevant data security goals. The complex nature of this undertaking can often require outside assistance.
Regular Data Backups
Regular data backups are important in both the business and personal world. In the business world, however, the stored data’s sensitive nature makes its loss even more catastrophic. Whether wholly deleted or held in a ransomware attack, regular backups help ensure the smooth functioning of a company. Backing up both to the cloud and onsite minimizes the risk of a complete loss.
Update and Patch Systems Regularly
It’s hard to stay ahead of hackers. There’s a constant battle between those with malicious intent and those trying to keep your information safe. Over time, holes are found in pieces of software by one party or the other. The result is typically an update or patch that closes the identified opening. By regularly updating your systems, they’re kept safe from many types of intrusions.
Employ a Firewall
A firewall is a traffic officer of sorts, letting in the desired users and information while filtering out potentially dangerous code. With this being the case, the quality of your firewall will go a long way toward determining your data security. There is a wide range on the market catering to the needs of different sizes of businesses and personal users. Drill down on exactly what you’ll need in a firewall before committing to one.
Create a Data Security Policy
Creating a well-thought-out data security policy is critical to achieving your overall data security goals. A comprehensive data security policy will include provisions for all of the other strategies and solutions mentioned here. It should have realistic goals and ways to achieve them.
Security Training and Awareness
The best plan will only go so far if it isn’t properly disseminated and implemented. Raising awareness of these types of issues will help prevent human error from leading to a breach. Training achieves a similar goal but with more specificity and direction. Make sure you’re educating your employees on proper procedures and how to spot phishing and other similar scams.
Regular Security Audits
It’s important to constantly monitor and improve your security plan and protocols. By conducting regular audits, you’ll expose weaknesses in your data protection scheme. With these areas fixed, it’s easier to ensure a robust and healthy overall data security program. Without regular audits, areas of both human and software weakness will go unchecked, making a breach far more likely to occur.
VPNs mask your network information and activity from prying eyes. By doing so, you gain a degree of anonymity, making it harder to identify you as a potential target. Using a VPN is a necessary step toward creating a comprehensive data security program.
Intrusion detection and prevention systems work in two part, to prevent attacks before they happen and detect attacks if they occur. These systems, when taken together, form the backbone of your software-based defenses.
Implement Incident Response Plans
A breach is likely to occur at some point despite your best efforts. When the inevitable happens, quickly stopping the intrusion and mitigating the damage should be your top priorities. Having a plan in place with clearly defined roles and responsibilities will go a long way toward achieving those goals.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. Managed Security Services Providers are outsourced technology and security partners that deliver management and outsourced monitoring of technology and security devices and who you will want to consider engaging when it comes time to step up your operational security.
The Role of a Managed Security Service Provider
Maintaining data security in today’s world requires specialized expertise that many organizations don’t have in-house. With constantly evolving security protocols and new threats appearing every day, it can be a lot to stay on top of. Working with the right Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) significantly lowers both the risks and costs associated with operational security by having skilled cybersecurity experts on hand to take the guesswork out of the equation.
At Secur-Serv, we understand that businesses need to adapt and transform to stay safe from the continually evolving cyber threats. Our extensive experience and partnership with the top security services providers, building customized security solutions for the way our customers do business and requiring customers to implement basic security services because security is at the core of everything we do. With a net promoter score of 9, our customers can attest to the reputation and capabilities we’ve established to secure their data.
Secur-Serv’s Data Security Solutions
We offer a range of data security solutions to suit the needs of every organization.
Multi-layered Security Approach
By utilizing a wide range of approaches and defensive measures, from human-focused efforts to cutting-edge software solutions simultaneously, we create a protective web around your confidential data.
Mobile Device Management
Focusing on mobile devices, device management programs allow you to track, monitor, lock, encrypt and enforce security policies. This emphasis on endpoint security management acknowledges the reality of our increasingly mobile work environment.
Managed Detection & Response
Our managed detection and response services offer real-time threat detection, proactive threat hunting, incident response, and 24/7 monitoring through our Security Operations Center (SOC). This full-service solution employs many of the tactics already discussed and offers peace of mind for companies.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training
With over seventy-four percent of breaches resulting from the human factor, data security training is a must. Our best-in-class offering has a sophisticated online portal and testing system to ensure your employees know and follow best practices.
Password managers are vital tools that simplify using secure passwords – keeping your employees safe online and your digital data secure. We offer a password management program that is easy to use and, above all, secure.
Data security is crucial in today’s digital landscape. With the increasing complexity of cyber threats, businesses must prioritize top-tier protective measures. At Secur-Serv, we’re your trusted partner, bringing expertise and tools to ensure your data remains uncompromised. Enhance your security posture — reach out to us today, and we’ll help fortify your digital defenses.