Digital data is a series of ones and zeros, but these assets are a primary factor in your organization’s value. Data is stored at specific locations (e.g., the cloud or on-premises drives), but organizations consist of several moving parts that retrieve and serve sensitive data to users. This infrastructure is a critical target for attackers, and you must be proactive in protecting it.
API endpoints, storage devices, corporate applications, user devices, servers, networking equipment, and more are targets for hackers. After a compromise, the result is disclosure of private data including passwords, intellectual property, customer data, financial information, and cryptographic secrets. The aftermath and effects of data breaches could impact your brand, customer loyalty and trust, and business revenue, so data security should be a priority. It also has legal implications and specific providers (e.g., financial and healthcare organizations) could lose their licensing after compliance violations.
Keeping data safe isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. Data security requires strategic thinking, deep knowledge of various technologies, and hands-on experience.
What is the CIA Triad?
Security attributes on your data come in three flavors: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These three attributes are termed the CIA triad, and it’s the base model for information security. It’s worth noting that the CIA triad is not affiliated with the US Central Intelligence Agency.
Attacks launched against data confidentiality aim to gain illegal access to sensitive and private information. Numerous attacks threaten data confidentiality, and your organization must have the right protection against them. For example, a man-in-the-middle (MitM) takes advantage of poor encryption and network security strategies. SQL injection attacks use malformed input into web applications to disclose stored data. Social engineering is used to trick organization staff into divulging passwords and other sensitive data. Some data disclosure is accidental, such as sending an email to the wrong recipient.
Integrity of your data keeps your organization productive. Should an attacker edit data with their own information, it could lead to data corruption. Data corruption on systems that hold sensitive data can have life-threatening effects, such as data changed on a hospital system or on a portable IoT healthcare device. Changes to bank account data could have life-changing consequences to customer financial security. Man-in-the-middle attacks are also used to change data as it’s intercepted and transferred between the user and the web application.
To stay productive, data must always be available when needed. Even with encryption and protection from integrity issues, attackers use various forms of denial-of-service (DoS) to interrupt data availability. When you create a cybersecurity strategy to protect data, you should also test for any available vulnerabilities that could interfere with productivity and your business daily operations.
The 3 States of Data and Why You Need To Know Them
Data exists in three states: data in-rest, data in-motion, and data in-use. To properly protect data from disclosure and corruption, you must know the state of your data.
The first state is data in-rest, and this is data stored on various devices, workstations, cloud, and on-premise infrastructure. Data in-motion is any information currently traversing the network, either locally or over the internet. Any data currently being processed either in memory or, for example, by a server CPU is in-use.
It’s important to know these states, because they require individual strategies and methods to protect data in each state.
Data in-rest is stored in an encrypted state on a database or server and must be protected from unauthorized access using specific strategies. Encryption is used for data in-motion, but other strategies can be used to protect data traversing a network. Authorization and authentication controls protect data in-use, but encryption might be used in some scenarios.
Knowing the three states of data being the roadmap for a data security plan and the technologies surrounding it. Most digital assets store some or most of your corporate data, so it’s critical that you find professionals that know how to find vulnerabilities so that you can proactively stop exploits. You might think that simple cybersecurity tools are only needed, but you need the right guidance to choose these tools and implement them properly.
DIESEC can help you choose the right tools and validate that your access controls, encryption, and other data security strategies are effective against critical threats.
How to Keep Your Data Secure Effectively and Reliably?
DIESEC has certified experienced professionals who can provide you with a consultation based on your unique business needs. Together, we can build information security infrastructure that preserves data integrity, confidentiality, and availability. Fill out the form or contact us directly.