Data breaches and increasing privacy risks are an ongoing trend and of global concern. In fact, regulators are continuously exploring new mandates to ensure data level security. Some regulators focus on national solutions while others are mandated worldwide.
Consider regulations like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Any company that has customers in the EU must comply with the GDPR’s mandates. Further, U.S. states are continuing to expand privacy laws making the regulatory environment much more complicated and fragmented based on each state’s statutes. As a result, lawmakers are looking into a nation-wide federal privacy law similar to the GDPR. However, while we’re still in a wait-and-see period, it is certain that more data level security laws will be passed.
Why data security services matter
As societies increasingly rely on technology, it’s also crucial to trust it. Whether it’s a corporate firewall or a mobile device, it is vital to get the most out of innovative technologies. Privacy and data level security drives trust. As a result, more organizations choose to work with a data security services partner to protect customer and employee data.
If organizations place data protection as a core value, then it also helps concerning compliance with applicable regulatory laws. It’s easier to manage data more effectively if privacy and security are prerequisites and built into the infrastructure.
Undoubtedly, Internet-based devices are commonly used for work, errands, and entertainment. Across all systems, data is a common element. Much of that data is confidential, private, and sensitive. Therefore, it is essential to implement reliable data security services to prevent the threat of data leaks and cyber attacks. Otherwise, data privacy is at risk.
Unfortunately, there is a large amount of interdependency between privacy and data security. However, it’s vital to work collaboratively to achieve comprehensive protection. End-users should have the ability to decide which information they deem private and the same goes for businesses. As such, it’s vital to deploy the right safeguards to protect processes, devices, end-users, and technologies.
What is data level security?
Data level security is designed to prevent data corruption throughout its entire lifecycle. Further, data level security is a counterpart to privacy.
The collection of data requires a straightforward security framework. Nonetheless, some security frameworks are better than others. The risk of a breach must be weighed against the benefit of using the data. Data level security ensures protections are based on the risk and types of data so the most effective safeguards are applied.
Permanent remote work
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s largest organizations implemented a remote work policy out of precaution. Many companies struggled to maintain adequate data level security measures as employees worked from home using outdated security systems and devices. In addition, there was a strain placed on remote networks increasing the risk.
Since then, many businesses have maintained and plan to keep a remote working environment. Although, they continue to struggle with cyber security and sensitive data sharing over a wide variety of connected devices.
There isn’t any question a remote workforce does come with its fair share of security challenges. Not to mention, video communications have skyrocketed. Hosting is another component of the security pie, but they are also too convenient to pass up with features such as workflow management, online meetings, and collaboration.
The other shift is around major events becoming virtual and using interactive digital experiences instead of meeting in person. While these are optimal for health safety concerns, again, the issue remains with data level security. Also, we have to factor in the prominence of online education and training. We now have the tools, and network speeds, to facilitate on-demand education. Moreover, many employers encourage use of these online platforms to improve employee knowledge and potential for upskilling as business needs evolve.
Understand the threat landscape
With all these online opportunities, the attack surface has gone up. While the innovations are positive, organizations now face more digital threats than in previous decades. Right now is the time to shift data risk models that can also enable safe access and usability. Here are a few of the most prominent threats:
Remote Access: Millions of employees can connect to their organization’s servers remotely. Some are using VPNs thinking they provide adequate security. But, cyber criminals have already proven that VPNs are no match for their sophisticated machinations. It’s why ransomware is on the rise. Undoubtedly, ransomware can shackle any company and in the worst case scenarios, drive permanent closure.
Criminals can use key-loggers to steal credentials and sell them on the dark web. Without data level security, many companies will face significant losses associated with breaches.
Phishing Scams: Phishing is a popular scam because threat actors don’t have to rely on coding. All they have to do is convince their target that they are who they claim to be. It’s not that hard. Phishing campaigns cost victims millions of dollars every month. Therefore, it is critical for remote workers to understand how phishing scams work. They’re designed to take advantage of the victim. Since the beginning of 2020, over 4,000 coronavirus-themed scams have been reported.
Malicious bots: Bots account for a large number of malicious threats. They can spam victims with content and often use popular terms such as “coronavirus” in their algorithms to lead unsuspecting end-users to websites packed with malicious software. Bots also facilitate click-bait URLs that seem like a legitimate site but then take victims to fake online stores designed to steal data and credentials.
There isn’t any question the attack surface is expanding, and new threats are coming. It is more vital than ever to invest in data level security. It’s also essential to train employees about current and new threats while enforcing security policies.
Data security is a requirement for regulatory compliance
Concerning local, state, national, and global regulations, organizations must notify affected parties and regulatory bodies of a data breach. If the data level security and encryption was enforced, then many U.S. states do provide a “safe harbor” around data breach notices. According to the statute, a safe harbor is “provision of a statute or a regulation that reduces or eliminates a party’s liability under the law, on the condition that the party performed its actions in good faith or in compliance with defined standards.”
Thus, safe harbor provisions encourage data level security and deployment of robust data security services. Encrypting data is vital to protect organizations from costly damage incurred by data breaches. Some statutes maintain that unauthorized access to encrypted data is not a “breach.” Yet, it’s a complicated task to determine how and where to encrypt data without a data security services partner helping with management and execution.
According to the (GDPR), companies are mandated to secure data adequately in accordance with the laws. Article 32 requires organizations to “ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability, and resilience of processing systems and services.”
Businesses must implement security principles as guided by the GDPR, as well. As a result, all organizations should evaluate their business practices, data level security practices, and associated technologies to comprehensively protect data. This is from Article 15: “The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning him or her are being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal data and the following information: the purposes of the processing; the categories of personal data concerned; the recipients or categories of recipient to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed, in particular recipients in third countries or international organizations; where possible, the envisaged period for which the personal data will be stored, or, if not possible, the criteria used to determine that period; the existence of the right to request from the controller rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing of personal data concerning the data subject or to object to such processing; the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority; where the personal data are not collected from the data subject, any available information as to their source; the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling, referred to in Article 22(1) and (4) and, at least in those cases, meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and the envisaged consequences of such processing for the data subject. Where personal data are transferred to a third country or to an international organization, the data subject shall have the right to be informed of the appropriate safeguards pursuant to Article 46 relating to the transfer.
- The controller shall provide a copy of the personal data undergoing processing.
- For any further copies requested by the data subject, the controller may charge a reasonable fee based on administrative costs.
- Where the data subject makes the request by electronic means, and unless otherwise requested by the data subject, the information shall be provided in a commonly used electronic form.”
So, data level security is about granting access permissions at the data level. It is about a granular approach on a case-by-case basis for granting access to groups, users, or both. Portions of data can be accessed or a combination. Base determination on risk level and end-user needs.
It takes a security first culture and the right data security services partner to optimize data level security. Regardless of the industry, all employees should understand digital risks and act accordingly not only to comply with regulations but to ensure data resilience.