Data security guards the data of organizations and systems from unauthorised access, use and modification. This helps avoid data breaches that could result in business disruption, financial loss, compliance penalties and reputation damage. Modern methods for protecting data include a combination of tools, technologies and best practices that focus on the three pillars of protection for data that are: Confidentiality (preventing information from being viewed or read without authorization) and Integrity (ensuring that information is accurate and is not altered) and the availability (ensuring that the information is accessible when needed).

The first step in effective data security is creating and maintaining an inventory and mapping of your data sets. Recording the data in your data centers and network-connected devices, desktops, mobiles, cloud services, and software applications is essential. It is important to think about physical storage options like USB sticks and external hard drives, as well as old documents and printed files. These are often overlooked but could contain a wealth confidential data. Cybercriminals can take advantage of this.

Once you’ve gained insight into your data sets the next step is to categorize your sensitive data so that you are able to better understand the nature and location of it within your system. This lets you prioritize your security efforts by making sure that the highest-value data is secured, while less critical information remains readily accessible. It also lets you adhere to regulatory and industry requirements, such as those applicable to finance, health care and communications.

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