Data security guards the data of organizations and systems from the risk of unauthorized access, use, and alteration. This helps to prevent data breaches, which could lead to business disruption and financial losses or compliance penalties, as well reputational damage. Modern methods to protect data comprise a mix of tools, technologies and best practices that concentrate on the three main pillars of security for data: Confidentiality (preventing information from being viewed or read without authorization) and Integrity (ensuring that information is accurate and is not altered) and the availability (ensuring that information is readily available at any time).
The first step to ensuring data security is creating and maintaining an inventory and mapping of your data sets. This involves cataloguing all data stored in your data centers, network-attached storage and mobile devices, desktops as well as third-party cloud services and software applications. It is essential to consider physical storage devices like USB sticks and external hard drives as well as discarded documents and printed files. These are often overlooked but could contain a wealth of confidential information. Cybercriminals will take advantage of this.
Once you’ve gotten a better understanding of your data sets the next step is to categorize your sensitive information so that you are able to better understand what it is and where it is within your infrastructure. This allows you to prioritize your security efforts by ensuring that the most valuable data is secured while less critical information remains easily accessible. This enables you to conform with the requirements of regulatory and industry like those pertaining to the finance, health care and telecommunications sectors.