7 Most Effective Data Security Techniques to Consider for Your Organization

20 May 2021

Cybercrime is on the rise again, and this time no one is safe as the criminals target small, medium, and large enterprises equally. Learn how to protect your business. 

Sadly, cybercrime is on the rise once again. In quarter one of 2021 alone, we’ve had more than a dozen serious data breaches affecting millions of people across the globe.

For instance, in March, the London-based Harris Federation suffered a ransomware attack forcing the organization to temporarily disable the devices and email services of its 50 primary and secondary school academies. Over 37000 students were affected.

In the same month, one of the biggest cyber insurance firms in the US, CFA Financial, was attacked. The company had to shut down temporarily to prevent further damage.

“On March 21, 2021, CFA determined that it sustained a sophisticated cybersecurity attack,” the company said in a statement. “The attack caused a network disruption and impacted certain CAN systems, including corporate email.”

You might have also heard about the Florida Water System attack. Cybercriminals breached the Oldsmar’s Computer System and briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million.

It Could Get Worse Before it Gets Better

According to IFSEC Global, the current spike is partially occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the situation will probably only get better once normalcy returns.

“It has been a period of significant change for working practices and lifestyles. Most people have spent the coronavirus period either in lockdown or working from home whenever possible,” the IFSEC report says.

“Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people live. That has an impact on cybersecurity too.”

A few things that have worked in cybercriminals’ favor include;

  • The rise in remote working
  • The rush to take businesses online
  • Pandemic related phishing opportunities
  • The increasingly connected IoT space

Data security techniques

7 Data Security Techniques to Consider For Your Business

You can take steps today to make your organization a hard target and ultimately reduce the chances of becoming the next victim. Consider the following tips;

          1. Data encryption 

Encryption is currently one of the most effective ways to protect your data from cybercriminals. This is because only someone with the decryption solution can access encrypted data. It means that you’re still protected even if the data falls into the wrong hands.

Currently, industry regulations only require encryption for certain types of data, records, and files. However, we believe that it’s time to expand the coverage. Things like emails that we often overlook are the easiest targets for cybercriminals. SMS text messages are another. Cybercriminals can intercept your messages, follow your conversations, and use the information to execute a data breach.  

          2. Backup and recovery optimization 

Another often-overlooked area is backup and recovery. Most companies have plans for backup and recovery that entirely rely on disaster recovery technology (DR). In short, you let a third-party organization handle every aspect of your backup and recovery efforts. In most cases, these third parties use cloud technology.

We believe that relying exclusively on third-party cloud-based data recovery providers isn’t enough. Remember that cybercriminals can hack cloud systems too. We gave an example earlier where a cybersecurity insurance provider was hacked. It’s critical to have your own data warehouse and implement data integration.

          3. Embrace row-level security 

Row Level Security (RLS) is a data security mechanism that restricts access to the records from an SQL server table based on the authorization context of the current user. Essentially, records are made available based on the identity of the user (and position in the organization) and the records needed to perform the intended function. The result is that only specific people can access specific data.

It’s another worthwhile security layer to consider for your organization as it keeps cybercriminals out. And, even if there’s a breach, the criminal can only access part of rather than the entire server.

          4. Implement data masking 

Data masking refers to creating a fake but realistic version of your organizational data. The goal is to protect sensitive data while providing a functional alternative for scenarios where actual data is needed. For instance, you can use fake copy for training, sales demos, and software testing.

Data masking is a simple but effective data security procedure. It shields the organization from critical threats such as data exfiltration, insider threats or account compromise, and insecure interfaces. It also minimizes the risks associated with cloud adoption and makes data useless to attackers.

          5. Ensure regulatory compliance 

First off, regulatory compliance can help you prevent cyber-attacks. Industry regulations such as the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enumerate practices that, when followed, can help organizations keep the bad guys at bay.

More importantly, compliance saves you from backlash and potential penalties in case of a breach. If you’re attacked, and it’s found that you weren’t compliant with, say, GDPR, you risk losing your reputation and paying millions of dollars in fines.

           6. Consider cyber insurance 

Although CFA Financial was recently attacked, this doesn’t mean you should overlook cyber insurance. Just like health and life insurance, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Even a standard cyber insurance policy protects you from threats such as identity theft, social media liability, cyberstalking, phishing, email spoofing, malware attacks, and IT theft loss.

In case of extortion, as is routine with ransomware attacks, the insurance provider will also cover the costs.

           7. Work with data security experts

When it comes to cybersecurity, you can’t rely on guesswork and heresy. You need the input of a professional. Although there are several steps you can take yourself, such as creating passwords and ensuring that your software is up to date, experts are indispensable if you’re to achieve complete security.

Among other things, a security expert will ensure that you’re in full compliance with industry regulations. The experts will also help you develop a practical security policy to prevent and promptly react to active breaches.

Data security techniques

Take Action Now

Don’t be the next victim. If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to secure your data to protect your customers and the organization, this is the time. Find a cybersecurity expert and let them help you through the process. NIX Solutions would be happy to hear from you.