Data security protects organizational data and systems from the risk of unauthorized access, use, and modification. This helps avoid data breaches that can cause disruption to businesses and financial loss and compliance penalties as well as reputational damage. Modern methods of protecting data consist of a combination of tools, technologies and best practices that concentrate on the three pillars of protection for data which are: Confidentiality (preventing information from being exposed or read without authorization) and Integrity (ensuring that the information is accurate and unaltered) and Availability (ensuring that data is available when needed).
The first step in effective data security is creating and maintaining an inventory and mapping of your data sets. This includes cataloging all data stored in your data centers, network-attached storage, desktops, mobile devices, third-party cloud services and software applications. It is important to think about physical storage like USB sticks and external hard drives, as well as old documents and printed files. These are often overlooked and can contain a wealth of confidential data, making them a tempting target for cybercriminals.
Once you have visibility of your data sets you’ll have to classify sensitive information in order to better understand what it is and where it’s situated within your infrastructure. This allows you to prioritize security efforts, ensuring that only the most important data is protected and that information that is not as critical is readily accessible. This lets you adhere with the requirements of regulatory and industry like those that pertain to the health care, finance and telecommunications industries.