Data security refers to the combination of people, process and technology that is required to prevent unintended access, alteration and destruction of data. It refers to the various measures deployed by organizations to prevent unauthorised access to databases, internal and external websites, and even server systems and personal computers. This is one of the top priorities of organizations worldwide and is embraced by all looking towards preventing corruption of sensitive and business changing data.
Today, with organizations depending to a massive extent than before on data to arrive at timely and appropriate business decisions, any modification or destruction of data can have far reaching effects. Further, the need for secrecy and sensitivity of data across a wide range of sectors like banking, insurance and healthcare, has made it all the more important for organizations to ensure that customer data is not misused or misinterpreted. The legal systems of multiple countries worldwide have also made it mandatory for organizations to ensure protection of data specific to that country. In today’s internet pervasive world, the ways and means of accessing data and misusing it has become quite easy making it imperative for organizations as well as personal users to embrace Data security measures.
The ways and means of accessing and altering data have changed drastically, so has the means to protect data from unauthorized uses. Right from deploying hardware based systems for shielding data and physically protecting it to software based solutions for encrypting data, organizations have adopted multitude of measures to safeguard data. Hardware based systems use physical access mechanisms like biometric and passcodes, while software systems use plethora of techniques like encryption, data masking and constant access monitoring of data to track patterns and identify gaps. Further user authentication mechanisms are also adopted by organizations to ensure that the right category personnel have access to select data types, thereby avoiding unintended access of data.
Insiders pose biggest threat today in terms of accidental or intentional data loss. Organizations typically overcome these threats by deploying various solutions to protect the 'Data in motion', 'Data at Rest' and 'Data in Use'. Data Loss Prevention or Data Leakage Protection (DLP) is most widely used solution along with Information Rights Management or Digital Rights Management (DRM/IRM). The sensitive data stored in databases is typically protected and monitored using Data Masking/Obfuscation and Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) solutions. Hard Drive or Whole Disk Encryption (WDE) solutions are also very commonly used to protect the data at rest in the laptops.
Data security measures enable an organization to avoid the pitfalls arising from accidental disclosures of sensitive data. Many times, such leakages cost organizations dearly, on account of legal complications arising due to sensitivity of information. Data security measures reduce the compliance cost by simplifying data audit mechanisms and automating them. They also enable the organization to ensure integrity of data by preventing unauthorized usage and modifications. In today’s well connected world, adoption of robust data security processes and methodologies also ensure that the organization is well aligned to the legal and compliance standards across countries – a key decisive factor when it comes to operating across continents.