Data security protects organizational data and systems from misuse, access and alteration. This helps prevent data breaches that can result in business disruption and financial loss and compliance penalties as well as reputational damage. Modern methods of protecting data comprise a mix of tools, methods and best practices that are based on three pillars: Confidentiality, Integrity and Integrity.

Data security begins with a thorough inventory and mapping. This involves cataloguing all data stored in your data centers, storage devices that are network-attached and desktops, mobile devices, third-party cloud services and software applications. It is also essential to take into account physical storage devices like external hard drives and USB sticks, as well as discarded printed files and documentation. These tend to be overlooked and can contain a wealth of confidential information, making them a prime target for cybercriminals.

Once you’ve gained insight into your data sets, the next step is to categorize the sensitive data so that you know how and where it exists within your infrastructure. This lets you prioritize your security efforts by making sure that the highest-value data is protected while less important information remains readily accessible. This enables you to conform with the regulations and requirements of your data security industry, such as those that apply to the health care, finance and telecommunications industries.

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