Digital business has its advantages, but cyber attacks like IP Spoofing attacks, DDOS Attacks, and unauthorized access overshadow these advantages, which has created the need for robust data security. Thus, digital security, or data security as you choose to name it, is a pivotal factor in today’s world.
What is Data Security?
As the name states, data security is the process of securing sensitive data from intruders and hackers. It’s not a one-time process but involves a lifetime updating process. It is not only restricted to networks and servers but also includes the security of hardware, software, business information, login credentials, etc.
Preventing these unauthorized accesses needs implementing varied cybersecurity solutions like limiting accesses, encryption security, installing other security software, etc.
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the need for data security since employees have started working from remote destinations, which lack proper security solutions. Be it home Wi-Fi, remote server, lack of encryption, or lack of intrusion detection software. All these factors are responsible for a hike in intrusions.
Hackers are taking complete advantage of the pandemic situation, leading to a phenomenal rise in cyberattacks.
So irrespective of whether your business is big or small, data security is extremely important to keep it running.
Why is Data Security Important?
Data security is very important to all types of organizations due to varied reasons. Apart from the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance factor and gaining customer trust, your company data is an asset that needs to be shielded from unauthorized intruders. These intruders can be external or internal.
Preventing your data from being accessed by them will protect your company against monetary loss, brand abrasion, damaging brand reputation, and loss of customer trust. It will also save the time and effort required to assess the damages, check out the need for modifications of security solutions, and repair the damages for preventing another data breach.
Types of Data Security:
Multiple controls and technologies can be installed or used to secure digital data. Ensure to secure all end-to-end points, are to prevent security lapses for hacker entry.
In this process called authentication, the login credentials of the users are verified to confirm their identity. This is the most pivotal defense to prevent intruders from accessing your sensitive data.
Though the authentication process looks simple from the outside, it’s a bit complex from a technical point of view.
Types of authentication include password-based authentication, multi-factor authentication, certificate-based authentication, etc.
The latest technologies include Single Sign-On (SSO), Breached Password Detection, etc., which help in strengthening the authentication process.
Encryption is one of the best methods to secure your sensitive data. This method is possible by installing an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate on your website.
Encryption is done with a pair of keys, i.e., public key and private key, which encrypt and decrypt data, respectively. The data, when encrypted, looks like a scrambled language.
- Despite penetration, the hacker cannot misuse the data since it’s encrypted and is unreadable.
- Without the decryption key, the encrypted data is gibberish and of no value. Hence it cannot be misused.
The AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm is the most trusted globally since it can combat multiple attacks.
The tokenization process converts the sensitive data into a non-sensitive type named tokens. These tokens look like a value comprising of similar length of data.
Here the tokenized text is non-readable and undecipherable, just like the encryption process.
There is only one basic difference when we compare encryption and tokenization, i.e., encrypted text can be converted into readable text with the decryption key, whereas tokenized text is non-reversible. This makes it more secure.
#4. Data Masking:
To prevent your sensitive data from being hacked, some business owners use the data masking process to trick hackers into their own games and protect business data.
They hide the original content with modified content to secure sensitive data. The most significant part of this process is that it is irreversible, thus making it more secure and cheaper than the encryption method.
Example: “Jack Douglas” is replaced with “Jack Smith” in the entire database.
Regular backups to ensure recovery of the data in case of contingencies. Regular backups help to prevent loss due to human errors, virus attacks, hardware issues, or power failure incidents. There should be a proper data backup policy. Keep automated data backup that makes data secure even it is lost due to the above-discussed events.
#6. One-Time Password (OTP):
OTP or one-time pin is an authentication code for a single transaction. This helps in data security because even if the hacker discovers the code, the same code cannot be re-used to gain access to data.
#7. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB):
CASB security tools usually stay between the user and the cloud. They monitor user behavior and ensure that the security policies are followed properly. In addition, it provides data visibility and data control to prevent cloud threats.
#8. Data Erasure:
When you need to wipe the data clean, the data erasure process works best. This process uses software to erase the device data, making it completely irrecoverable.
#9. Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Management Tools:
Vulnerability assessment tools like Cloud-based Vulnerability Scanners, Network-based Vulnerability Scanners, etc., help detect threats that target your systems and networks.
Risk Management tools like SWOT, Risk Register, Brainstorming, etc., are used to trace risks for ensuring data security.
Data Security Tips
The motto of data security is to ensure that the three main elements related to it are adhered to by each organization.
Data Confidentiality, data integrity, data availability, etc., should be at the epicenter of each security measure.
#1. Install SSL Security:
The main purpose of installing SSL certificate is to convert in-transit browser-server communications (plain text) into an encrypted form (ciphertext) that looks like gibberish format. An encrypted text cannot be read by a third party hence, the ongoing information remains safe from prying eyes.
SSL certificate secures data like credit card, login credentials, and payment-related information. Once you install an SSL certificate, it turns HTTP- a plain text into encoded text (HTTPS). Moreover, an installed SSL triggers HTTPS and a secured padlock in the address bar of a browser.
With HTTPS in URL, customers can identify that your site is legitimate. A legitimate site instills trust in customers and increases online conversions. Without a legitimate site, customers feel such a site is insecure and move away to your competitors’ sites.
Types of SSL Certificates are available in the market, so you can choose the ideal one for securing your digital business.
#2. Backup your Data:
Even though you have the best security solutions implanted on your networks, hackers sometimes find a way to break that barrier and penetrate to steal your data.
In the digital market, it’s wise to be prepared for unwanted contingencies. A disaster recovery plan in the form of data backup is one such solution, which will save your digital world in case of a data breach.
Regular data backup to physical off-site storage or cloud-based storage is advisable.
#3. Install Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware Software:
Antivirus software protects your data, systems, and computers from malware or other malicious software.
Benefits of Anti-Virus Software:
- Protects against Viruses or Malware
- Prevents Phishing Attacks
- Protection against Online Threats
- Firewall Protection
- Blocks spam emails and sites
Benefits of Anti-Malware Software:
- Prevents Malware
- Detects & obliterates Malware
Use trustworthy software for the same and secure your data.
#4. Update your Software and Systems Regularly:
Though ensuring regular system and software updates is a painful task, it is essential to ensure that all critical security lapses are fixed. The same is only possible with regular updates, either manually or automatically.
Irrespective of the operating system type, updates need to be done, or else they may threaten your business and data.
#5. Secure your Wireless Networks:
It’s very important to ensure that your Wi-Fi networks at homes and offices are secured with passwords.
Even if people are eyeing to get a free Wi-Fi connection, they may intrude on your network and gain access to your data.
You don’t want unknown people accessing your network, do you?
If it’s your workplace, it’s better to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Secure your VPN with a password for dual security.
Benefits of VPN:
- Secures your data with encryption
- Hides your actual location
- Access to regional content
- Secures transfer of data
#6. Install a Firewall:
A firewall is yet another strong security solution for maintaining data privacy. Apart from ensuring authorized access to the cloud or other storage platforms, a few more pros of firewalls are:
- It monitors network traffic and prevents malicious traffic from entering the network.
- It prevents virus attacks.
- It safeguards your system and data against Trojans and other malware.
- It prevents hackers from intruding on networks.
- It ensures access control and better data privacy, thus securing your business.
#7. Set Strong Password and Authentication Policies:
Data security intrusions due to weak passwords cost a fortune, so they need to be handled efficiently. The best solution is to use complex passwords with multiple symbols, characters, and numbers apart from alphabets.
Long passwords using a Password Generator tool will help in suggesting a good one for securing your data. A complex password gives a tough time for hackers to crack and penetrate your systems.
- Authentication Policies:
Authentication policies like 2FA (two-factor authentication) or MFA (multi-factor authentication) should be implemented rather than solely relying on passwords.
Just in case the password is leaked or cracked, another authentication code in the form of an SMS, OTP, PIN, etc., can provide double security to your data.
#8. Educate your Employees:
If you feel that only your IT department needs to be aware of the cyber threats and their solutions, you are making a grave mistake. Your first line of defense, i.e., your employees, need to be aware of the same.
Example: If an employee cannot detect a phishing email, they may unknowingly click the malicious link or download the attachment, which may affect your entire digital infrastructure.
Make data security awareness a priority by investing in regular training of employees, keeping them updated about the types of cyber threats, their solutions, dangers of social engineering attacks, etc., and conducting mock tests if needed for gaining accuracy to combat such threats.
Employees working at remote locations also need to ensure data confidentiality by following the company’s security policies for accessing networks.
#9. Establish Policies on Mobile Phones and Other Devices:
Mobile devices used by employees can pose a threat to the organization. Many firms have BYOD (bring your device) policy, which allows employees to use their laptops, tablets, or other devices for official use.
Though the BYOD policy has its benefits since it shows high productivity, better job satisfaction, retention, comfort, and speed, its main disadvantage is that this personal device does not have proper security solutions (firewall, anti-virus software, etc.) installed, which may pose a major security challenge.
- Ensure that your firm has strict rules on how and when to use such devices.
- Ensure that your employees download trustworthy applications if needed.
- Ensure that these personal devices are secured with encryption technology and have other security solutions like firewalls
- Ensure to use adblocker on all the devices which use your network, so suspicious pop-ups are averted, and data breach is prevented.
If the above tips are followed, and all the security solutions are in place, you can eliminate major cybersecurity risks.
#10. Monitor your Networks Regularly:
If networks are monitored regularly, your team can instantly notice suspicious activity, if any, inform the IT team regarding the same or work on preventing the same from entering the network.
Regular network monitoring helps in:
- Benchmarking performance
- Efficient allocation of resources
- Detecting security threats
Few More Data Security Tips:
- Limit the accesses given to employees
- Delete the login credentials of employees who have left the company
- Never leave your device unattended
- Switch off your computer when not in use
- Never share your passwords
- Disable sharing of data when necessary
- Lock your private mobiles or other devices when used for official purpose
- Backup your mobile device data
- Delete unused data
- Audit your data regularly
Ensure that you and your employees are prepared to face these hackers by implementing the tips mentioned above for securing your data. Then, emerge victorious against such malicious elements by using strong data security solutions and protecting your business. Best Wishes!!