Data security is the protection of digitally stored information in a database from unauthorized users and destructive forces. It is commonly used for CIA (confidentiality, integrity, and availability) of data. Data security and data privacy are terms often used interchangeably, but there are specific differences data security deals with protecting data from unauthorized access whereas data privacy refers to the norms set by the government about how the data is collected, preserved, shared, and used. Data security not only protects the data from external criminal cyber crimes but also from internal threats like the human error of password protection of the software and the hardware that are used to store the data.
Types of Data Security
- Data encryption: this refers to the encryption of data. The data stored in the database is converted in algorithms and then saved. Later when it is needed for further use, it is again decrypted to its original form. Whatsapp is the best example of this particular security which provides end-to-end encryption. This works as the final line of defense in securing the data from external and internal threats.
- Hardware-based mechanism: hardware-based mechanisms prevent internal threats. Securing the hardware prevents the data from being mishandled, breached, tampered or even unauthorized access.
- Software-based mechanisms: different software provides different levels of security to avoid compromising the data.
- Backups: Backup helps in restoring the data which has been lost or purposely deleted. For any organization, it is always suggested to keep a backup for the database stored.
- Data masking: this process hides some of the credentials from the overall information in order to secure some important data. For reference, we can take the example of the one-time password. When we receive an OTP in our phone, it masks the OTP until the phone is unlocked and replaces it with some special characters. This is done to avoid mishandling of the password by any unauthorized user.
- Data erasure: while dumping hardware, any organization should make sure about the data erasure. Deleting is never enough to get rid of the data, it can always be recovered. Therefore, to solve this, data overwriting is done.
- Data resiliency: it is the process of data jumping back into the business even if it is once compromised. Data now is stored in clouds which makes it possible to access it whenever and wherever we want. It profits us with anywhere access which also makes it risky as with this, data can easily be mishandled. Therefore, the movement of potential data should be restricted and high-risk activity should be alarmed.
- Authentication: it is very important to trace the activity of every individual who is handling the data. This keeps us informed about the breach and the person behind it. Every individual is given specific and unique credentials to log in to the database to maintain authenticity.
- Tokenization: tokenization works similar to data encryptions but it does not turn the data into algorithms. Instead, it turns data into special characters to code them.
Ensuring the Safety of the Data
Practices that can be used to ensure data security are as follows:
- Every individual handling and working the data should be given specific IDs and passwords. This can help us to identify the person behind the breach and also control the damage as there would be no single person handling the data. Every individual can be responsible for a small amount of data rather than the complete database.
- The data should always be stored in encrypted form as it can provide the final level of security. Encryption makes sure that the data even if leaked cannot be used by hackers.
- Protecting data where it is stored also minimizes the damage that can be done by various threats.
What is Privacy?
Data privacy or information privacy is a branch of data security that involves the proper handling of data that is in the control of the user. It ensures that the data is being used for its intended purpose for which the consent is given. Above all rights, comes the right to privacy, and data protection is a subset of data privacy because the protection of the data is the first step of keeping the data private. With no protection on the database, it can be accessed by any user be it authorized be it non-authorized.
Data privacy is very important in any organization as it builds the foundation of trust between the user and the organization. With every minute of developing technology, the database keeps on piling up making data privacy really complex. The laws are becoming strict by each day in order to provide an environment of safety for the users regarding their information. A minute leak of single information can damage a user to his core.
Recently, the company Facebook had charges pressed against them regarding the data breach. Facebook was blamed for selling the data to the company Cambridge Analytica. The reason behind this data breach can be for the purpose of sales. Once our data is leaked, the information related to your needs and demands is shared among the different companies which can influence us through advertisements and other mediums to increase their sales. This is the least that can be done which makes us wonder about the consequences of the worse.
HOW IS DATA SECURITY RELATED TO PRIVACY?
Data privacy is related to security in almost all possible ways. It usually sets the terms and conditions by informing or rather asking permission from the user regarding its data. Data privacy is related to the laws and the breach can cause legal cases on the concerned authority for which compensation would be provided as per law and data security is more of a technical dysfunction. Data security needs to allow only the authorized access to any data and its breach leads to unauthorized access to the data. Data security can be compromised anonymously which can affect an organization to a great level whereas, data privacy can individually harm a person for which the organization would be questionable.
Why is the Protection of Data Necessary?
Protection of data is required for maintaining and protecting one’s business. The information stored about the employee of a company in its database can provide the unauthorized person with lots of loopholes for causing damage to the life as well as the properties. With the acquired data, furthermore, information can be pulled out and in less than an hour, due to the digital world, the whole history can be accessed sitting at a place.
The data that has a necessity of protection includes:
- Name of an individual
- His address
- His email id
- His phone number
- His bank details
- His social media handles
- Information related to his health.
All these data if breached can cause more damage than one can think of. These sensitive data can give details about his partner, medical history, finances, and every minute information about the individual.
How to Protect Data in Your Enterprise?
Data can be secured at different levels for an enterprise to work smoothly. For data to be protected at the initial level few things are to be kept in mind which are as follows:
- Software updates are meant to upgrade the security from a consistent level. The software updates, when installed in a system, improve or provides a new layer of security that is stronger than the previous one and therefore helps in data security. Moreover, new techniques are always more difficult to hack due to a lack of knowledge. Once the technology gets older, the loophole in the system gets rumored away and becomes easy to hack.
- Password protecting any hardware or software adds a new layer of security. The best thing that one could do to protect their information is password protecting them and making sure that no two passwords are the same. In addition to that, the strength of the password must be checked
- Switching off the pop-up notification: the notification that appears on the lock screen of the screen should be turned off to avoid the leak of the information from your own device.
- Backup: the information that is stored in any device should be backed up, either in other devices or on the cloud. If the system gets formatted, the back can help to restore the information otherwise it can be lost forever.
- Encryption: the data is shared on any platform should be encrypted to avoid the data breach from either end of the transfer. An application like, WhatsApp and signal offer end-to-end encryption which offers security for the transfer of sensitive information.
- Locking the apps: every application individually should be locked by creating another line of security by separating barriers which can be provided by a personalized password.
- VPN (a virtual private network) can conceal your information from the people using the same shared network in any place. Usually, the hotels and restaurants provide unsecured networks that are shared among many people and consequently keeps our valuable data at risk. Using a VPN can encrypt all the data that is entering or leaving your system or is stored in it. It can also hide our location and if address which makes it really good to use for security purposes. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind should be using a trusted virtual network.
Data can also be secured at a broad level which includes:
- Access control enforcement- Although the data is stored in the clouds, the user can still control the access for the sense of privacy. The data that is useful to the user or can cause damage is usually secured from the user’s end.
- Use of Virtual Machines- The operating system that is working in a system has the data stored in it which can be accessed by anyone handling the system. Moreover, there is no separate secured space to contain confidential files. The virtual machine is a virtual operating system to perform safe and secure storage and use of data. Virtual operating systems are installed inside a basic operating system providing a fraction of storage to perform functions. The data stored in a virtual machine is more secure than the basic operating system.
- Monitor employee- An employee should be monitored in an interval to avoid the misuse of important data of the company. One should always know about the employee, working under him. Also, securing a system on the initial level has major importance in providing security to the data. Every employee should be instructed to secure their system to avoid breach at the first level.
- Physical protection- Physical measures are taken for the documentation. Even after being digitally oriented, hard copies that have data printed on it are usually circulated around for official purposes. It is recommended to have paper shredders with the employee to ensure the permanent damage to that information.
- Data Encryption– The protection of important data is done by converting the sensor data to the coded form so that even if the data reaches an unauthorized person, it cannot be decoded as the coding in the encryption is based on some algorithms which is quite difficult to hack.
- Data management– The data stored in the database should be managed in order to protect it. The data stored in the clouds are just a search away. Better data management makes the process of accessing the data more secure as well as easy.
With proper measures, data can be secured at its maximum. It is mainly negligence that lets the data being compromised. The security of the data is a broader term that can be imagined and it cannot be managed until the measure works from the lowest level to the management level. However, privacy is user-controlled, and depending upon the individual it has its own barriers. Privacy being a fundamental right, if breached, can be taken to the court of law.