With most enterprises entering the digital sphere, data security is becoming an ever-important consideration. Maintaining confidentiality of sensitive information is one example of a vital aspect of adequate data security measures, especially if your business handles customer profiles and transactions. To optimize data security, many organizations are considering the integration of blockchain solutions for their digital transformations.
In general, data security can be broken down into four main elements: Confidentiality, Integrity, Authenticity, and Availability. Though some, such as confidentiality and integrity, are often considered the most important, they are useless without an integrated approach spanning every core concept in data security.
Data confidentiality refers to having strict, verified control of who or what can access data and how they are able to do so. There are government regulations that require customer data to be confidential in many cases. Even without such requirements, securing customer data should still be a priority because data leaks are incredibly destructive to customer trust, as seen in many real-world examples. Other times, you may simply have sensitive business data which should not, or cannot, be broadly available.
Common data confidentiality practices include data encryption - in transit and at rest, physical control over sensitive servers and documents, and managed company devices specifically required for data access. These practices all complement each other to create a more confidential data landscape.
The integrity of your data - ensuring the accuracy, consistency, and validity of data through its entire lifecycle - is necessary for your data to remain useful. Incorrect data is not only useless but can actually be detrimental to business decisions. Maintaining data integrity then is not only a key aspect of data security but is required for data to even be functional.
Some practices in maintaining data integrity can be quite simple, such as consistently validating input data which allows for many issues with validity and accuracy to be resolved before the data even enters your system.
Good data confidentiality can bring about data integrity; ensuring that the only people and systems that can access the data are those that actually need to utilize it helps mitigate errors and unauthorized changes.
While similar to the concept of data integrity, data authenticity is distinct because rather than just ensuring that the data is accurate, data authenticity helps to prove the accuracy. Data authenticity and data integrity are principles of data security that go hand-in-hand.
To ensure that data is accurate requires one to keep track of what happened to it. Ultimately, data authenticity helps to ensure the security of an entire system by outlining the origins of the data and tracking where it leads to.
Think of data authenticity as leaving a paper trail which documents all actions performed on the data. This includes keeping track of who (or what) created the data, when it was created, where has the data been passed to and from, how has the data been transformed between various locations, and who has accessed the data.
All of this metadata can prove that data is accurate and valid. Just as knowing the provenance of a painting can help determine its monetary value, knowing the provenance of data determines its decision-making value.
Data availability is the most often overlooked aspect of data security. Ensuring that the data is available and accessible is necessary because secure, accurate, and authentic data is useless without the ability to use it. Many threats to data availability exist both internally and externally within a system.
One of the most prominent threats is ransomware, which removes access to data and disrupts the entire business cycle. The best defense against this is maintaining regular data backups. Many services exist which help to protect data against ransomware and to minimize its impact. With increasing malware attacks, data security has become the utmost priority for businesses.
Other data availability complications can come from within a system. If some datastore is being utilized beyond its capacity, it can lead to major slowdowns and difficulty accessing data at all. Ensuring that data servers are able to fulfill their needs through their type and scale is a necessary consideration of data security. Having physical data whose access is needed around a business can be destructive. Digitizing this data can drastically increase its availability.
With four key elements to consider, securing data requires a multifaceted process that considers data throughout its lifecycle. This is where Aptimized can help. Contact us today to get started.