Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed the way we manage almost all aspects of our lives. These changes are especially true in business. Very few companies with employees have not adapted rapidly to this new, often remote working landscape. Furthermore, COVID has spawned a greater demand for remote working and more stringent data security than before.

Within months of global lockdowns, remote meetings, working, digital adoption had advanced by years. However, as more work goes digital, so do the criminals. Consequently, this rush to pivot has come with more security risks as some things did not have the luxury of testing. Thus, many companies have also stretched their IT staff to the limits. Because of all of this, many companies are deciding to partner with outside data security services vendors who can effectively manage their data with a dedicated staff experienced in these new issues.

What is data security?

Data security involves protecting valuable customer and company data, using both best practices and technology.

When you think, "what is data security?" think about the valuable data your company collects, stores, and manages. Information like employee and customer information and intellectual property are top targets for hackers. The people and technology used to protect this information are critical to protecting your company's reputation and bottom line.

Why is data security important?

Your company's data is a valuable asset. Therefore, keeping this data safe from hackers and destruction keeps it from damaging your brand, your profits, and future consumer confidence. In addition, data breaches or loss draw the attention of the government and regulators, which can bring additional financial and reputation risks.

Put data security at the heart of digital disruption

As the pandemic has continued with waves of digital progress, we have all continuously learned from our personal and customer experiences. Here are five aspects that will likely continue post-pandemic:

Security is the key to nurturing support

Many organizations have already announced their intention to continue remote working in the post-pandemic future. In addition, others will shift to a hybrid model, with some positions in office and others continuing to be remote, and further others working remote part time. However, the question is now how to protect the company's data while encouraging productivity and collaboration.

The role of technology in the workplace is primarily to support workers. Accordingly, part of security is to protect digital assets while also not disrupting productivity. While people are now often working under complex and new conditions, IT and security services must support this diverse range of employees and their digital work activities. IT must also learn to manage human error with compassion more than ever. This is how you nurture support.

Security experts believe they have built controls to reduce human error due to humans being too casual. However, this is an inaccurate point of view. On the contrary, it’s crucial to focus on improving controls to better support workers facing new challenges with remote work.

Empower end-user safety with zero trust

In the past, organizations have relied on a limited set of apps and services they manage themselves, primarily in-house. However, these days data security services are needed to meet employees in their remote workplaces worldwide.

This concept of zero trust is not as bad as it sounds. Zero trust enables employees access to their work needs, without disruption, regardless of where they are. With a zero trust support model, the system does more than interrogate the user. In addition, it examines the data, the machines, the network signals, and even whether or not the applications are appropriately updated.

When you trust no part of the process, this is how you allow full access to everything. In this way, it’s vital to base security on the level of risk. Subsequently, when people work remotely, a zero-trust architecture is a must.

Diverse threat intelligence

Every day there are more than eight trillion signals tracked by Microsoft around the world. However, the signal's diversity is more relevant than the volume.

Diversity in the different signals gives security experts the ability to gather relevant data and produce more accurate threat intelligence. During the pandemic, cyber criminals flocked to take advantage of COVID opportunities targeting apps, government aid, health systems, and anything else from which they could benefit.

More about cyber security

Cyber security and business continuity are often considered wholly different aspects of a business. On the other hand, changes in the online threat landscape show companies that this is a consideration that we should closely examine.

Rather than overloading security operations centers with incorrect leads, there needs to be human attention and effective automation. The better data provided to a system allows this system to resolve lower-level issues allowing people to focus on more critical or complex problems that AI can't be trusted with managing automatically.

Cyber resilience is critical to business resilience

Even under ideal situations, there are disruptions in business. The COVID-19 outbreak has proven this. Therefore, having a complete digital resilience plan is vital to your business's ability to manage setbacks effectively with minimal disruption.

A common need for modern business systems is redundancy. With easy and cost-effective access to cloud storage, managing redundancy with essential data is easier than ever.

The cloud is necessary for security

Generally, businesses react to security issues by purchasing an app or other tool, which results in many incompatibilities. Managing several aspects that do not communicate with each other is an inefficient task.

Patching problems one at a time can often create more holes than which you started. Hackers know this and take advantage of it every chance they get. Additionally, not maintaining updated apps causes additional security issues.

The best solution to patchwork security is to have fully integrated data security services. Managing security through the cloud streamlines software, reduces vulnerabilities, and offers power, scale, and built-in solutions that just most can not match any other way.

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed the way we view data security. By making computer ecosystems easier to manage and recover, we help businesses evolve with modern problems.

The data economy

Democratization of data is becoming increasingly popular. One benefit is the increase and speed of oversight. In order to achieve this, several people need access to the same data.

Creating democratization of data comes with risk. When you have several people having access to files, from home or work, on phones, and in public or private, this can be a daunting task for IT teams to manage securely.

Despite the increased issues with the democratization of data, there is little doubt that there are still overall advantages.

When more people have access to data, there is a greater risk. One cannot avoid this risk. In addition to more people having access to data, more devices have access to information, making data security even more complicated. With a remote workforce, you have to manage the people and their machines and the connection between company and user. When COVID hit, many companies rushed to deliver an ability for employees to work remotely. Consequently, this rush to move to remote work left many gaps in data governance policies and safety.

According to Statista, more than 160 million records were exposed through data breaches in the United States in 2019 alone. While this may sound high, this number is much lower than in 2018. In 2018, there were almost three times more exposed records than in 2019 at 470 million records!

While some data breaches can have little to no impact on an organization, others can cripple a business. Exposed customer data can cost a company millions. Also, the stress it creates on customers erodes brand trust and can even lead to costly regulatory fines if it breaks compliance.

What are some types of data security controls?

Understanding data security and its importance help you make a plan to keep that data protected. Several data security services can assist with productivity and safeguard data at the same time. Some data security controls used include:

  • Backups & recovery: Putting a priority on data security means having a plan for accessing the data when there is a system failure, breach, or corrupted data. Data backups regularly ensure the best way to maintain these records. You can backup your data by keeping regular copies on some separate system, such as on the cloud or even on disk or tape. In the event of a breach or corruption, the backup can provide a copy of the lost data.
  • Encryption: Data encryption uses an algorithm and encryption key to render your data unreadable to unauthorized persons. To an authorized person they have access to an encryption key. Encryption keys are securely stored to protect critical management systems, often relying on a secure and off-site key to restrict access better.
  • Authentication: Authentication and authorization are some of the top ways to increase data security. You use authentication to ensure a user's credentials are the same as what is in the database. Frequently, today people use two-factor authentication using a combination of biometrics, security tokens, a swipe card, passwords, and pins. Authentication can help determine what access an authorized user has access.
  • Access control: Authentication happens through access control. Access control systems provide the following:
    • Discretionary access control: Allows access to company resources based on the identity of the user.
    • Role-based access control: Provides access to users of a specific role, such as HR. This allows only people in this department to access specific information.
    • Mandatory access control: Provides access to all information. Required access is required for system administrators.
  • Data masking: Letters and numbers obscured by using proxy characters is data masking. Software used to encrypt data, then restore it to the original to the appropriate user is data masking.
  • Deletions & erasure: Deletion removes data from easily retrievable places, and erasure removes the data. You can recover deleted data while erased data cannot.
  • Tokenization: Tokenization is a way of data masking that is not so easily reversible. Tokens replace real data across systems. Meanwhile, we store the actual data on a separate, more secure platform.

In summary

The shift to more remote work and all of the problems and benefits it brings will continue. By protecting data now through data security services or other methods, businesses can limit hackers and errors to disrupt an industry and threaten security. SSI offers robust data security services designed to address the rising threat of data breaches.

Ready to take the next step in ensuring protection of your mission-critical data? Request an assessment with a data security expert.