Data security software comes in all shapes and sizes. Tools exist and are designed to secure all types of data, from individual messages to entire databases. Every company, no matter the size, should make data security a core business practice and be doing all they can to ensure data stored in every crevice of their business is protected; any theft to sensitive information can hurt both the business and the client. No sane business owner wants a data breach to be the public’s only association with their brand. And no individual wants to provide data to a company known to play fast and loose with their sensitive data.
It’s important that businesses map out security vulnerabilities and existing security mechanisms to determine where security could be bolstered. Information in every department, from sales to production, should be storing information in a secure fashion and continually updating security measures as new threats emerge. Data security standards may not be required by law in many countries or localities, but information security should remain a priority regardless of their required efforts.
Key Benefits of Data Security Software
This question may seem obvious, but the more accurate question could be "Why improve data security?" since every company should be doing all they can to keep sensitive information safe and secure. Here are a few reasons data security software is necessary for solidifying security measures and improving security operations.
Secure Confidential Data — There are millions of threats targeting companies in possession of sensitive data. This information can be stolen and sold online or held at the company’s expense for ransom. Many threats come from a company’s own employees or emerge as the result of poor passwords or authentication processes. Data security tools can improve the initial layers of defense preventing these parties from obtaining a company’s sensitive information. They can also help businesses put in place systems to mitigate incidents as they occur and simplify the recovery process after a breach occurs.
Prevent Data Loss — Data loss can be catastrophic for a business and extremely harmful for customers and individuals, in general. Data security tools are capable of improving both the prevention and recovery processes involved in data breaches. They can also help monitor user activity, detect intrusions, and mitigate issues.
Ensure Compliance — Federal and international regulations already exist and are continuously expanding guidelines for storing sensitive information. Some industries already handling healthcare, financial, or personal data like social security numbers or bank accounts also have industry-specific compliance guidelines. Many data security tools can simplify compliance management and ensure standards are maintained.
Data security should always be a priority. Both large companies and individuals are targeted every day by hackers and organizations with malintent. In addition to proper security practices like password management, endpoint protection, and user governance, some tools exist specifically for data protection.
General Data Security — Data security software secures and/or encrypts data, allowing only approved parties access to sensitive information about their business, employees, and customers. They allow administrators and management to create access control and perform security tests to audit existing security. Many databases can store encrypted backups in the case of a disaster for easy, secure recovery.
Mobile Data Security — Mobile data security software provides similar features but adds increased security for mobile devices, communications, and authentication. They may also include mobile device or mobile application management to ensure standards are maintained and malicious software applications are restricted.
Database Security — Database security is designed to do what it says it will do. They keep restricted parties from accessing company databases and ensure data is protected by a firewall, encryption, and other security methods to prevent unauthorized access and distribution for sensitive information.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) — DLP technology is used for three main purposes: securing information, maintaining backup operations, and ensuring compliance. These tools help companies put into place measures that store information in the proper manner and create a game plan for any potential anomalies or incidents.
Identity Management Software — Identity management software comes in many forms. Some tools help keep track of customers and non-privileged users, while others help track and control permissions for users allowed to access business-critical information. Other tools help make sure their users maintain strong passwords, keep software up to date, and provision user information.
Encryption — Encryption tools are simply general encryption technology to mask information that only approved users can decipher. There are a few different kinds of encryption technologies and many different uses, from secure communications to anonymous web browsing.
Data Masking Software — Data masking technology operates in a similar manner, preventing sensitive information from being visible to the public. They differ in that they’re traditionally just disguising information with random symbols or characters, rather than using full cryptographic algorithms.
Sensitive Data Compliance — Supports compliance with PII, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and other regulatory standards.
Two-Factor Authentication — Two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication requires a second level of authentication, such as SMS messaging or customized tokens, to access data.
Database Management — Administrators can access and organize data related to incidents to produce reports or make data more navigable.
Deduplication — Deduplication, creating synthetic backup files, to reduce file size and eliminate redundant files.
DLP Configuration — Sets protocols to alert administrators and back up or encrypt data at rest or as incidents arise.
At-Risk Analysis — Identifies location of data that may be less protected and more vulnerable to threats.
Access Management — Allows administrators to set user access privileges to permit approved parties to access sensitive data.
Mobile VPN — Provides a virtual private network (VPN) to secure remote connection to networks when accessing sensitive data from a mobile device.
Secure Data Transport — Protects data with some form of encryption as it leaves your secure or local network.
Data Types — Allows the secure storage of different information types such as text, spreadsheets, or graphics.
Database Support — Supports different database platforms and data types. Often integrates with existing databases.
Audits — Perform ad-hoc or ongoing IT audits at different levels of the company.
Antivirus/Malware Detection — Provides multiple techniques and information sources to alert users of malware occurrences.
Data Masking — Protects sensitive data by disguising or encrypting data, keeping it usable by the organization and approved parties.
Database Firewall — Protects database and sensitive information from a variety of attacks and malware threats.
Logging and Reporting — Provides required reports to manage business. Provides adequate logging to troubleshoot and support auditing.
The tumultuous era of the digital transformation has triggered the onset of many data security-related technologies. Here are a few cutting-edge technology trends impacting the information security world.
Blockchain — As the blockchain trends have boomed, security has been one of the largest industries impacted. Blockchain can help improve data security in a number of ways. Ledger information can be used to document activity and track user access. Other technologies will use blockchain to secure data between parties regarding transactions or finances. Blockchain and similar cryptographic technology is popping up within security solutions designed for everything from user authentication to building secure databases.
Big Data — Many trends regarding data and information security relate to big data technologies. These tools store, process, and distribute massive amounts of data which need to be secure. Some tools are specifically designed for securing big data workloads, but others may not be capable. Knowing the limitations of traditional offerings will be helpful for individuals or companies hoping to secure big data information.
Containerization — Containerized applications and networked microservices have a number of security-related benefits. Many companies are adopting containerized storage and backup capabilities to store in secure environments. Containerized applications can also simplify data or application duplication and distribution.
Adaptive Authentication — Risk-based authentication and zero-trust security structures are improving identity management and the user experience through adaptive authentication. These tools monitor user behavior, their devices, physical location, and many other factors to compile risk scores. Users with higher risk scores are prompted to submit multi-factor authentication credentials to continue access. Normal users, with normal devices, performing normal tasks will not be inhibited in the slightest.
Most security software focuses on the protection of data, prevention of attacks, and the management of vulnerabilities. Data security tackles these issues from an information-centric approach. Here are some security technology groupings that can help improve data security from alternative angles.
Data Privacy Software — Data privacy is a subsection of information security that has emerged from increasing compliance demand. These tools are used to help ensure sensitive information is stored properly. They also simplify the data delivery process for customers or users requesting access to the information a company has on them. Data privacy solutions are excellent complements to data security tools, but are not sufficient in and of themselves to provide a well-rounded data protection solution.
Data Center Security Software — Data center security software typically provides two things: firewalls and intrusion management tools. Firewalls are common in many security solutions, protecting everything from networks to endpoint devices. Data center security software will provide a firewall but one specifically designed for data center computing resources and local networks. They will also provide intrusion detection and prevention systems to alert security operations personnel of a breach and expedite the remediation process.
Cloud Security Software — Securing cloud data can be a rigorous task. There are many aspects of network, endpoint, and data security that intersect, making the security management process more difficult. Many of these tools will provide various security features such as a firewall, access control, or security monitoring capabilities. That being said, many are designed to simplify end-user security rather than securing data in transit or stored remotely.
Internal Communications Software — If you’re an individual concerned with the security of your personal communication data, internal communications software and secure messaging apps might be a cheaper and simpler solution. These tools help individuals set up end-to-end encryption for communication channels. They cannot ensure a database or network is secure, but they can assist in securing an individual's communications and information.
Backup Software — Backup software is typically more focused on organizing and deploying data backups rather than securing the information once it is stored. Backup is a critical component of the data loss prevention process, but backups are not inherently secure. Backup may be offered as a feature of data security software, but many backup solutions would be better used as a complement to security-centric solutions.
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