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The Three Pillars of Data Security

Data security is the safeguarding of systems and data against unauthorized access, modification and use. This can help prevent data breaches that could cause disruption to businesses and financial loss, compliance penalties and reputation damage. Modern methods of protecting data comprise a mix of technologies, tools and best practices that concentrate on the three pillars of data protection: Confidentiality (preventing information from being seen or read without authorization), Integrity (ensuring that the information is accurate and not altered) and availability (ensuring that data is available when it is required).

The first step towards effective data security is creating and maintaining an inventory and mapping of your data sets. Cataloging data in your data centers, network-connected devices, desktops, mobiles, cloud services, and software applications is essential. It’s also important to take into account physical storage, such as external hard drives, USB sticks, as well as discarded printed files and documentation. They are often ignored but could contain valuable confidential data. Cybercriminals can take advantage of this.

Once you have visibility into your data sets the next step is to classify your sensitive information so you know the nature and location of it within your system. This will enable you to prioritize security efforts, ensuring that only the most important data is protected and that less-critical information remains easily accessible. This also allows you to comply with industry and regulatory standards, like those applicable to health care, finance and telecoms.

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