What is data security?

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Written by: Aiya Rodjel

an increasingly interconnected world, it’s absolutely imperative to have data security. Why? If sensitive data is accessed by hackers, they might use it maliciously. If your bank details get leaked, your savings will be in danger. Personal information in the hands of people with ill intentions can cause a lot of trouble. 

That’s why it’s important that your data is kept secure and protected at all times. In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly is data security. We’ll delve into its importance, and tips, as well as ways for you to uphold data security yourself. We’ll basically go into why you should take care of your data, especially now.

The Basics of Data Security

Fundamentally, data security refers to the process of protecting digital information or data from data corruption and unauthorized access throughout its cycle. This concept encompasses all aspects of information security.

This includes the physical security of hardware and storage devices. It also includes administrative and access controls as well as the logical security of software applications. At the same time, it encompasses organizational procedures and policies. 

When data security technologies are properly implemented, robust data security strategies can protect the vital information of an organization. It can also protect you against cybercriminal activities. At the same time, it’s a guard against innocent human error, which could have grave consequences. 

Data security involves the deploying of tools and technologies that help upgrade the organization’s visibility into its critical data, and how it’s being used. In a perfect world, the tools should be able to apply protections such as encryption, data masking, and securing sensitive files. At the same time, it should automate the process of reporting to streamline audits and ensure that the organization adheres to regulatory requirements. 

The Importance of Protecting Personal Data

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Data security is vital to organizations for a variety of reasons. First, companies have the legal and moral obligation to protect users and customers from falling into the wrong hands. In the Philippines, the Data Privacy Act of 2012 protects all Filipinos from a data breach. This will be explained in detail later. 

Plus, a company puts its reputation at risk in case of a data breach or hack. The public will trust the institution less in case of a high-profile hack. This discourages people from supporting one’s business and motivates them to take their business elsewhere. 

Addedly, there are the financial and logistical consequences of data breaches. In case of an incident, it’s absolutely imperative you assess and repair the damage as soon as possible. At the same time, you should assess which business processes failed, and in turn, learn what you should improve moving forward. 

Companies that are known to be highly secure tend to build public confidence. It proves that you take care of your customers well. That is why it is imperative for companies to cover all bases, and deter possible threats. After all, most companies want to be known as socially responsible institutions. This attracts more investors and business partners. 

Threats to data privacy can cost a company tremendously. Securing data privacy might cost a company, but the cost is well worth the investment. Looking at the bigger picture, your organization saves a lot of money in the long run if it’s secure. 

Data breaches happen suddenly. In addition to having safety measures that protect your company’s data, you should address security breaches as soon as you can. The quicker you put out the fire, the easier it is to appease the public and solidify people’s trust in you. 

The Data Privacy Act 

In the Philippines, the law that primarily protects Filipinos’ information privacy against data theft is the Data Privacy Act of 2012. Also known as Republic Act No. 10173, this law basically ensures that personal information of people should be private and identifiable.

Now that the world has embraced all things digital, this law safeguards the privacy of people in the online world. What does this law entail, exactly? First of all, this law makes sure that all personal data gathered is for reasonable and legitimate reasons only. For companies to ask for your data, they should have a specific reason why they need your information, to begin with.

Next, this law ensures that the data you give away is handled properly. Information should be kept relevant and up-to-date. They should only be used for the reason stated beforehand. In turn, unauthorized parties must not have access to the information given away.

Lastly, the information must be discarded in a way that ensures no leak. Non-adherence to this law is punishable with up to 6 years in prison or up to P5,000,000 in penalties. 

Adhering to the Data Privacy Act 

To ensure your company adheres to this law, your organization should have five elements for data security strategy. First, you should have a data protection officer whose job is to primarily protect the organization’s data.

Next, there should be a privacy impact assessment. This ensures that the organization follows all the rules, and assesses what needs to be improved.

There should also be a privacy knowledge management program. This educates the entire workforce on practices to safeguard data. This also prevents human errors. Ideally, this should be done during employee training. This is to ensure they know the basics right off the bat.

At the same time, there should be a privacy and data protection policy. This makes sure there are rules in place that make sure the workforce follows all the privacy-related rules.

Lastly, there should be a breach reporting procedure. This educates people on what they should do in case of privacy-related issues. These security measures ensure that everyone is in compliance with the law.

Types of Data Security

There are a number of ways for an organization to safeguard its security. Here are the types of data security you should know about:

Data encryption

Data encryption enhances data security effectively with an algorithm that transforms normal text characters into an unreadable format. This algorithm makes sure the data can only be decrypted with the proper access control. In case data does get breached by a malicious party or insider threats, the information will essentially be useful to whoever gets access to it. Currently, encryption is one of the most popular and effective data security methods used by organizations.

Data masking

Data masking software essentially hides data by obscuring numbers and letters using proxy characters. Basically, it’s a way to create a false yet realistic version of your organizational data, and in turn, protects personal data. It masks personally identifiable information (PII) where necessary so that development can occur in environments that are compliant. This is another way of encryption that makes sure that data is useless to anyone who tries to access it illegally. 

Data masking solves severe security threats, such as data loss and account compromise. At the same time, reduces data risks associated with cloud adoption.

Data erasure

There are instances wherein there’s no requirement for the data anymore. This solicits for their removal from all systems. Data erasure is a method of software-based overwriting. Essentially, it completely destroys all electronic data that’s on a hard disk.

It’s a great way of removing liability from the organization. After all, data that doesn’t exist cannot be breached. It also verifies that the sensitive data is unrecoverable. Data erasure is the best way to achieve data sanitization. Why? This basically helps you cover all bases necessary. 

Data resilience

In simple terms, data resilience is the durability of an IT system when faced with possible issues. Creating data backup or copies of data is a great way of protecting the organization from accidental data loss. You never know what might happen, so this ensures the company’s data has a fallback just in case of a system failure. All companies should have backups in place in case of any type of failure, and of course, to safeguard sensitive data. 

Best Practices for Protecting Personal Information

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It is important to understand that there is no surefire way to prevent data breaches 100%. Even if you have all the right tools in place, there are a lot of things that are out of your control. However, that doesn’t mean you should not uphold your data security. While solutions help companies adhere to data security standards, there are ways for you to minimize chances of data breach or loss:

Understand what type of data needs to be protected. 

Personal data has different types of degrees of sensitivity. Essentially, the more sensitive the data is, the higher the risk on a data subject will be. To put things into perspective, even the breach of a small amount of highly sensitive personal data can have serious consequences. Thus, an organization must consider the sensitivity level and exact nature of personal data to be protected during the implementation of security control.

Control access to sensitive data.

There should be security controls in place to ensure that data access is for authorized people only. There should be filtering of data access according to the person’s need to access your personal data.

Track any possible security data threats.

When there is a higher risk for a sensitive data breach, the more sophistication the data protection solutions an organization should have. Essentially, the organization should have more complex data security solutions to combat data loss and other possible threats.

Follow industry best practices.

Information security requires professional expertise. Therefore, an organization should ensure it adheres to all regulatory compliance protocols. The information technology department of the organization usually has the insight to improve the business operations’ processes and security policies.

Check the features of your data security solution.

Not all security solutions are equal. Thus, you should check the features of your solution, such as data storage, data loss prevention measures, and the like. This will give you an idea if you have enough protection from insider threats, and if you’re in need of an upgrade, depending on your business nature.

Consider the costs of data security.

While it’s important to safeguard your data security, you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet to keep your business safe against threats. What data type do you store in your organization’s cloud? How many people should have user access to certain data? You should weigh your options well.

Prepare for cyber threats.

Good data security is all about thinking ahead of the curve. You’ll want to have a solid cybersecurity policy that covers current and possible threats to your data. This includes internal and external threats. You should also consider real-time tracking and alerts of suspicious activities.

Staying Connected to Stay Protected

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In this increasingly interconnected world, it is important to stay connected to uphold data security. Now that most people work from home, it can be tricky to grant access to files and user data. This is most especially true since most of us engage in cloud-based data management. Hence, people should think of data security as an important investment in raising one’s business value.

Most security solutions are through to the internet, for various users to have access to the necessary data. After all, people usually have data access through the cloud, and enterprise data can be accessed and transferred through the internet.

Thus, in addition to investing in data security tools, you need to invest in fast and reliable internet connections. One of the newest internet service providers in the country, Streamtech Systems Technologies, Inc. equips your business and you with unlimited, high-speed internet. With Streamtech, you can exceed your limits, and security teams can liaise with each other at ease.

Whether you’re a small enterprise looking to upgrade your connection or a household that needs excellent internet access, Streamtech lets you enjoy better connectivity. We offer different packages tailor-fit for your needs, and we can even grant you access to your favorite television channels through our partnership with Planet Cable.

Contact our team today to subscribe. Visit the Streamtech website or Official Facebook Page for more details.

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