What is Data Security? | Threats, Risks, & Solutions

Data security involves protecting your business’s critical and sensitive information from unauthorized access and other data-related risks like corruption or theft. This approach involves using various cybersecurity and other information security practices from attacks that can encrypt or destroy your business’ data, such as ransomware attacks, as well as those that can modify or corrupt it. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your data is available to everyone in your organization who can access it.

Data security has always been an essential aspect of any business. This is because of the rapid growth in cyber attacks that have crippled organizations. Effective data security ensures data confidentiality, data integrity, and data availability. Given how complicated data security is, it is advisable to let reputable IT experts secure your business. In this article, we will help you understand what data security entails and how Contego Inc can help you implement effective data security measures.


Why is Data Security Important?

With most businesses adopting the internet, data security is crucial in protecting their information assets against cybercriminal activities, threats and human error. A data breach can have severe repercussions on businesses, making it vital for them to prioritize data security. So, why is data security important?

First and foremost, data security is essential for financial reasons. According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach was approximately $6 million. Therefore, a data breach will significantly affect your organization’s budget, with millions spent on assessing and recovering your lost data and the affected business processes.

Since hackers target customer data, a data breach will significantly affect your business’ reputation. Customers want to work with companies that they deem safe. Therefore, if you fail to implement effective data security measures, cyber-attacks will put your business in the spotlight, but not in a good way. Your business will lose its value on the market.

In addition to that, data security is crucial because of the stringent regulations around data privacy. Businesses and organizations have a moral and legal obligation to protect their user and customer data from unauthorized parties. Failing to implement proper data security measures to protect your customer’s data will lead to lawsuits, settlements and fines. Therefore, data security protects your business from data breaches, preventing damaging legal consequences.

Types of Data Security

There are several types of data security measures and technologies that you can implement to protect your data. Since no single technique is enough to secure your business, you can combine as many as you can to ensure you counter all your business vulnerabilities.

1. Access Controls

Access Controls involve limiting the number of people with physical and digital access to your organization’s data and systems. Digital access control can be implemented through authentication, while physical access control involves protective measures like key cards or biometric authentications.

2. Authentication

Authentication is the process of accurately verifying users before they can access your business’ data. This can include using passwords, PINs, or biometrics. It is an essential part of data security that prevents unauthorized access to vital information.

3. Encryption

Encryption involves using an algorithm to scramble sensitive information, making it unreadable so that only authorized personnel with the proper encryption keys can read it. Ensure you encrypt every piece of data from the database to files and communications. This ensures that even if someone accesses your data without proper authorization, they cannot use it.

4. Data Erasure

Data erasure is critical in disposing of sensitive data. Rather than wiping your data, data erasure involves using software to completely overwrite data on your storage devices. It ensures that the data is unrecoverable, making it impossible to fall into the wrong hands.

5. Data Masking

It involves using data masking software to hide your data by obscuring characters with proxy characters. The software will only reverse it if it reaches its desired destination. Data masking is necessary for masking sensitive information by making it useless to unauthorized users.

6. Data Resiliency

Data resiliency is measured by how well your systems can endure or recover from failures. Therefore, it ensures that your hardware and software components are not affected by power outages or natural disasters. This involves implementing effective backup and recovery plans.


Data Security Threats & Risks

Data security threats are more than just hackers breaking into your systems. They also involve internal threats that put your sensitive information at risk. Below are some common data security threats you’ll face as you protect your organization’s information.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware is a significant threat to the security of an organization’s data. A ransomware attack infects your systems and encrypts the data, making it unusable. The hackers will then ask your organization to pay a large sum of money for the decryption key. Ransomware protection should always be prioritized in any organization’s cyber security program. This is because ransomware attacks have significantly increased by over 150%. In addition to that, Sophos’ research showed that ransomware is one of the most expensive attacks to recover from, with each attack costing businesses over $2 million.

2. Accidental Exposure

Whenever threats to data security are mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is hackers. However, a large percentage of data breaches result from negligent or accidental exposure of sensitive data. That happens when your employee shares, loses, mishandles, or grants access to vital business data. This can either be done accidentally or when your employees are not well versed with your organization’s security policies. You can prevent this by efficiently educating your employees about cybersecurity.

3. Social Engineering Attacks

Attackers use social engineering attacks to access your organization’s sensitive data. They use manipulative ways to trick individuals into providing sensitive information or granting them access to vital systems. Attackers convince your employee to click a malicious link or dangerous attachments, thinking it comes from a reliable source. This will then significantly compromise your systems, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.

4. Shadow IT

Shadow IT involves the unauthorized use of third-party devices, software, applications, or internet services in the workplace, exposing your systems to various attacks. This is very common because employees tend to use apps they use daily, making it difficult to detect. When they run these applications on your systems, their weak security will leave your system vulnerable to attacks.

5. Advanced Persistent Threat Attacks

Without data security measures in your organization, an attack will go undetected for an extended period. An APT attack is when attackers penetrate your systems, monitor your operations, and collect information for a prolonged time. This will extensively damage your business operations and data.

Data Security Capabilities & Solutions

Various tools and practices can significantly improve data security in your organization. Let’s look at a few data security solutions and capabilities to implement in your business.

1. Data Discovery and Classification

To achieve data security, you have to know where all your data resides. In most modern environments, businesses store their data on the cloud, servers, or endpoints. Therefore, you should implement tools and strategies to give you visibility into your data. Knowing the type of data you have and classifying it will help you adequately protect it from attackers. It also makes it easier to assess and take care of any vulnerabilities.

2. Data and File Integrity Monitoring

These tools help track user access to ensure that only authorized personnel access your organization’s most sensitive data. They also give your security team better visibility over your file and database systems. They will receive reports on the sensitive data being accessed and by whom. Data and file integrity monitoring also notify your security teams of malicious activities. They can also block unauthorized access to your systems.

3. Vulnerability Assessment Tool

These tools make it easy to detect, scan and address vulnerabilities in your systems. These tools can identify outdated software, weak passwords, misconfigurations, and data sources that leave your systems vulnerable to attacks. You can also use anti-malware, antivirus, and endpoint protection mechanisms to prevent malware attacks and protect your systems from hackers.

4. Automated Compliance Management and Reporting Tools

You’re legally obligated to follow standards and regulations that can help you protect your business from data breaches. Automated compliance tools scan your systems and provide reports based on a built-in compliance standard. They then generate recommendations on how to remedy the compliance issues. These tools ensure IT compliance and protect your business from facing legal repercussions.


Data Security with Contego Inc.

Data is the most valuable asset of any organization. That’s why Contego Inc. is here to help you protect data from internal or external corruption. We can also help you prevent illegal access to your company’s sensitive data. You can take advantage of Contego Inc.’s data security solutions to protect your data, avoid financial losses, gain customer trust and retain your organization’s data integrity.

Feel free to contact us to learn more about the benefits of consulting experts to prevent cyberattacks, or what to do after one occurs. You can also arrange a free cyber threat assessment for you or your business to ensure that you implement the right data security measures.