Data security guards the data of organizations and systems from the risk of unauthorized access, use, and modification. This helps to prevent data breaches that could lead to business disruption, financial losses as well as compliance penalties, as well as reputational damage. Modern methods for protecting data include a combination of technologies, tools and best practices that focus on the three pillars of data protection that are: Confidentiality (preventing information from being exposed or read without authorization) and Integrity (ensuring that data is accurate and unaltered) and the availability (ensuring that data is available at any time).
Data security starts with an extensive inventory and mapping. This includes cataloguing all data stored in your data centers, storage devices that are network-attached and mobile devices, desktops and cloud services from third-party providers as well as software applications. It is important to think about physical storage options like USB sticks and external hard drives, as well as old documents and printed documents. These are often ignored and can hold a lot of confidential data, making them a popular target for cybercriminals.
Once you have visibility into your data sets, the next step is to classify your sensitive information so you know how and where it exists within your infrastructure. This allows you to prioritize your security efforts by ensuring that the highest-value data is secured while less critical information remains readily accessible. It also lets you be in compliance with regulatory and industry requirements, such as those applicable to finance, health care and telecoms.