Data security refers to the digital privacy measures implemented to prevent unauthorized computer access, databases, and websites. Data security also protects your data from corruption. Data security is an essential aspect of IT for organizations of all sizes and types. Its proper provision is handled by data security services, which provide services for effectively providing data security.
Data security is also called information security or IT security. Examples of data protection methods are data backup, data encryption, and data deletion. Encryption is an essential measure of data protection technology. Encryption protects digital data, software/hardware, and hard drives to make them unreadable by unauthorized users or hackers. Authentication is one of the most common practical ways to protect data.
During authentication, users must provide a credit card compliance, password, code, biometric, or another type of data to verify their identity before accessing systems or information. Database security refers to collective measures taken to protect database management software from illegal use, malicious threats, and attacks. It is an umbrella term for many processes, tools, and techniques that provide security in database environments. Protection covers all aspects and components of the database to ensure safety. This includes:
- Data stored in the database;
- Database server;
- Database management system (DBMS);
- Other programs for working with databases.
Administrators and other information security professionals often plan, implement, and maintain database security. Ways to analyze and implement database security include:
- Limiting unauthorized access and use by implementing advanced multi-factor controls for data management;
- Load/stress testing and database auditing capability to prevent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and user overload;
- Physically protected database servers and backup equipment against theft and natural disasters.
- Scan existing systems for known or unknown vulnerabilities, and identify and implement action plans in the event of a cyber attack.
Security and data protection
Privacy is the distinction between data in a computer system that can be shared with third parties (non-personal data) and data that cannot be shared with third parties (personal data). Improving data protection has two main aspects:
Access Control – Authenticate anyone who tries to access your data, only allow access to the data they have the necessary rights to access.
Privacy – Prevent unauthorized third parties from viewing or destroying your data, even if they have access. Data protection methods provide encryption that prevents data from being viewed without a private encryption key and data loss prevention mechanisms that prevent users from transferring sensitive data outside the organization.
Data security largely overlaps with data protection. The exact mechanisms used to ensure data protection are also part of an organization’s data security strategy.
The main difference is that data protection focuses primarily on privacy, while data security focuses on protection against malicious activity. For example, encryption may be an appropriate means of protecting privacy but not an adequate means of protecting data. Attackers can cause damage by deleting data or double-encrypting it to prevent unauthorized access.
Below are some common challenges companies of all sizes face when protecting sensitive data. Accidental disclosure of data. Most data breaches are caused by the unintentional exposure of sensitive data rather than malicious attacks. Organizational employees often accidentally or unknowingly share, access, lose, or misuse valuable data. This serious problem can be addressed through employee training and other means, such as data loss prevention (DLP) technology and advanced access controls.
Phishing and other malicious social engineering attacks
Social engineering attacks are an essential vector used by attackers to gain access to sensitive data. This includes manipulating or tricking anyone into revealing personal information or gaining access to privileged accounts. Phishing is a common form of social engineering. This includes messages that appear to be from a trusted source but are sent by a cyber attacker. By providing personal information by clicking on a malicious link sent by cybercriminals, personnel does not follow security rules; attackers can compromise the device or gain access to the corporate network. An insider threat is an employee who accidentally or intentionally compromises the organization’s data security. There are 3 types of insider threats:
Harmless insiders can unintentionally cause harm by ignoring or disregarding security rules.
Malicious insiders are employees who actively seek to steal data or harm the organization for personal gain.
Compromised insiders are employees unaware that an external attacker has compromised their accounts or credentials. Attackers can then impersonate legitimate users and perform malicious actions.
Ransomware is a severe data threat for businesses of all sizes. Ransomware is malicious software that infects corporate devices and encrypts data, rendering it useless without a decryption key. Attackers display a ransom message to unlock the key, but in most cases, paying the ransom has no effect, and the information is lost. Many types of existing ransomware can spread and affect large parts of corporate networks quickly. If your company does not perform regular data backups, the ransomware infects the backup servers, making it impossible to recover your essential data.
Loss of cloud data
Many companies are moving their data to cloud storage to facilitate sharing and collaboration. But when data moves to cloud storage, it becomes more difficult to control and prevent data loss. Users gain access to data from personal devices and unsecured networks, and it is straightforward to accidentally or maliciously share files with unauthorized people.
SQL injection is a common technique used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to databases, steal data, and perform unwanted operations. It works by injecting malicious code into seemingly harmless database queries. SQL injection manipulates SQL code by adding special characters to user input that changes the content of the question.
We expect databases to process user input; instead, we start processing malicious code that furthers the attacker’s goals. SQL injection can expose customer data and intellectual property or give attackers administrative access to a database with severe consequences. SQL injection vulnerabilities are often the result of unsafe coding practices, and implementation is relatively easy to avoid if you use a secure mechanism to accept user input.
General data security solutions and practices
Various technologies and applications can improve data protection. While this alone won’t solve the technical problem, combining several methods below can significantly improve an organization’s security. Data detection and classification. Today’s IT environments store data on servers, endpoints, and cloud systems. Visualizing data flows is an essential first step in understanding what data might be stolen or misused.
To adequately protect your data, you need to know what that data is, where it’s located, and what it’s used for. Data analysis and classification tools can help with this. Data discovery is the foundation of knowing what data you have. With data classification, you can create scalable security solutions by specifying which data should remain private. With data discovery and classification solutions, you can tag files on endpoints, file servers, and cloud storage systems to visualize data and enforce appropriate security policies across your organization.
Data masking allows you to create a synthetic version of your business data. Masking can be used for software testing, training, and other purposes that do not require live data. The goal is to protect your data and provide a functional alternative when needed. Data can be altered in various ways, including encryption and replacing characters or words. It would help if you changed the value to whichever method you choose so that it cannot be reproduced—managing access to personal data. Identity and access management is a complex, relevant business process; the strategy and technical framework enable organizations to manage their digital identity.
Solutions allow IT administrators to control user access to confidential information in the organization carefully. Systems using these solutions include single sign-on systems, two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, and privileged access management. These technologies help organizations securely store identity data, support governance, and ensure appropriate access policies are applied to every part of the infrastructure. Data encryption is a unique method that converts data from a readable format to an unreadable encrypted form (ciphertext). The data can only be read after the encrypted data has been decrypted using a special, unique decryption key.
Data loss prevention
Businesses can take various steps to prevent data loss, such as: Backing up data. Physical backup protects your data from natural disasters, downtime, or cyber-attacks on local servers. Software solutions help protect your company’s data beyond basic measures such as backups. DLP software automatically scans content for sensitive data, provides centralized management and enforcement of privacy policies, and prevents misuse of sensitive data.
GRC is a methodology that helps improve data security and compliance. Management establishes controls and procedures throughout the organization to ensure compliance and confidentiality. Risk is assessing potential cybersecurity threats and ensuring your organization is prepared for them. Compliance ensures that business applications comply with regulations and industry standards when processing, accessing, and using data.
One of the simplest data security methods is requiring users to use unique and strong passwords. Without centralized control, many users use passwords that are easy to guess or use the same password for multiple services. Organizations should use robust authentication methods for web-based systems. Multi-factor authentication is recommended when internal or external users request sensitive or personal information.
Companies should conduct security audits at least once every few months. It identifies gaps and weaknesses in the organization’s overall security—protection against malware, viruses, and endpoints. Malware is the most common vector of modern cyberattacks. Therefore, organizations must ensure that endpoints such as employee workstations, mobile devices, servers, and cloud systems are adequately protected.