Data Security: Definition, Importance & What it Looks Like in 2021

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what is data security | iTMunch

Data created, collected, exchanged and stored by your company is valuable. Any sort of information – payment data, financial data, sensitive personal information, intellectual property, employee information or customer information – is a goldmine for hackers. The lack of proper infrastructure that keeps this information safe from corruption by external or internal unauthorized access can lead to data theft, financial loss, loss of consumer confidence, reputational damage and brand erosion.

Data security enables you in formulation of a plan to protect your valuable data. Data security and privacy encompasses the technology and processes you should be adopting and incorporating in your business to safeguard your company data, fiscal health and reputation.

If you want to understand what is data security, what are some data security trends for 2021 and why data security is important, you’ve come to the right place.

What is data security?

In simple terms: data security includes both practice and technology of protecting sensitive, valuable company and consumer information from unauthorized access.

Data security encompasses the process of protecting your company’s files, accounts and database by implementing a certain set of controls, tools, techniques and applications capable of identifying and/or eliminating cyber threat. The concept of data security includes protecting every aspect of information – the physical security of storage devices, hardware devices and access controls and the logical security of software applications. Data security is also inclusive of company’s data security policies and data security standards and their compliance with government’s data security laws.

Ideally, these tools and apps are capable of protecting data by applying techniques like data masking, encryption and sensitive file redaction. When implemented properly, these data security strategies protect your company’s information and assets against cybercriminals and cyber attacks. These strategies also guard your company information and assets against insider threats and human error. 

There are three core elements of data security, which is also known as the CIA triad. The triad acts as a model for companies to keep their valuable information safe from data exfiltration:

  • Confidentiality: makes sure that your data is accessed only by authorized individuals
  • Integrity: ensures that the data is accurate and reliable
  • Availability: makes sure that data is available as well as accessible to satisfy company needs

Why is data security important?

With digital transformation profoundly altering almost every aspect of how businesses operate today, the volume of data enterprises create, store and manipulate is growing exponentially and driving a greater need for data governance. Moreover, computing environments have become more complex than they were before. These environments include some or all things like the public cloud, company data centers and several edge devices from IoT sensors to robots and remote servers. Though these technologies give companies the edge they need over competitors, these also create a complexity which leads to an expanded attack surface which is more challenging to monitor and secure. Here’s where data security comes in. 

There are lots of reasons why data security and privacy are important for organizations. Some of them are: 

  • Helps in reduction of the number of data breaches a company might have to suffer
  • Helps prevent revenue loss 
  • Helps protect the privacy customer
  • Helps in maintaining and enhancing brand value 
  • Supports an the code of ethics of your organization
  • Gives an upper hand or a competitive advantage over other businesses

Cyber security trends 2021

cybersecurity and data security trends | iTMunch

Now look at some data security trends that’ll rule 2021 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence Integration with Cyber Security

Agreed, this was a data security trend in 2020. However, AI with cybersecurity is surely going to take the centre stage in 2021 too. AI combined with machine learning has brought tremendous positive changes in data security. AI has been key in building several data security technologies like natural language processing, automated security systems, automatic threat detection and face detection.

Though artificial intelligence is also currently being used in the development of smart attacks and malware in order to bypass data security protocols. To combat such malware, AI-powered threat detection systems and tools will come up with capabilities of predicting attacks and notifying admins in case of data breaches instantly, making it a data security trend in 2021.

2. Distributed Cloud

Gartner has already said that the future of cloud is distributed cloud [1]. Distributed cloud is basically a public cloud service which lets you run public cloud infrastructure in multiple locations. Meaning you don’t just get access to the public cloud via infrastructure of your cloud provider but also on premise, in third-party data centres, in other data centres of other cloud providers and colocation centres.

Companies are hesitant to make a complete migration to public cloud models or hybrid clouds that use a combination of public and private clouds. Distributed cloud provides a public cloud option to multiple physical locations. The public cloud company operates, maintains and evolves the service, physically execution happens at the point of need. Distributed clouds also help with low-latency scenarios and reduce data costs. Moreover, they help in compliance with privacy laws and regulations.

SEE ALSO: Edge Computing vs Cloud Computing: Meaning, Types, Examples & Differences

3. Data security in personal devices

As we navigate through the pandemic, the lockdown has brought key shifts in how we work. Most companies allowed employees to work from home which led to company information being accessed on private networks and devices. As the number of companies allowing remote work increased, so did potential surfaces for attacks. Hackers around the world are taking advantage of the current situation.

Many individuals worldwide have come across a phone call, an email or a text scam related to the pandemic. According to Purplesec, overall cyber crime has increased by a whopping 600% since the beginning of the pandemic. So, in order to protect personal and company information from such threats, data security technologies, tools, strategies and techniques would increase [2].

4. The growth of IoT, 5G & potential associated risks

Next raging data security trend is IoT with 5G networks. With 5G networks rolling out all around the world, a completely new era of connectivity is becoming a reality with IoT (Internet of Thing). Industrial IoT has entirely transformed how critical industries, such as healthcare, maritime, automotive and shipping, operate and manage their data Consumer IoT is being used in homes extensively in order to make our lives easier and smarter. Despite the benefits, the Internet of Things brings several risks. This is mostly because of the lack of visibility and secure architectures that leads to an increased threat surface. The communication of IoT devices among devices and the network exposes them to vulnerabilities and attacks.

5G is still pretty new in the industry and needs a lot of research to find loopholes in order to make the technology secure from external threats. Every layer of 5G might have a plethora of vulnerabilities that we aren’t currently aware of. The 5G architects need to be extremely strict and particular while building 5G infrastructure, both software and hardware, in order to restrict data breaches. This is why data security trends of 2021 will help in safeguarding IoT devices used in industries and homes along with additional security in the field of 5G.

SEE ALSO: What is IoT & how does it work? Internet of Things Explained

5. Hyper Automation

Hyper automation is the process of businesses automating as many business as well as IT processes as possible using tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, etc., in addition to other decision processes and task automation tools. Any process or business that can be automated in a company should be automated. There are many companies that are supported by a “patchwork” of technologies that aren’t lean, connected or optimized. Business processes that aren’t streamlined create extremely extensive and expensive issues for companies, which is why hyper automation as a data security trend is crucial for operational efficiency as well as resilience.

6. Automotive Hacking

This data security trend in 2021 is about the rise of automotive hacking. Smart vehicles come power-packed with high tech features that use automated software to create a seamless connectivity for drivers in engine timing, cruise control, door lock, advanced systems for driver assistance and airbags. These automotive use technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi for seamless communication, which also opens them to vulnerabilities and threats from hackers.

Taking control of cars and other automotive and their microphones for eavesdropping is expected to increase in 2021, with the rising use of automated vehicles. Autonomous or self-driving vehicles use a more complex mechanism that needs strict cybersecurity measures.

Conclusion: Data Security Importance and Trends in 2021

Gartner predicts that data and cybersecurity trends for 2021 are to focus on 3 key themes [3]:

  • People centricity: People still the center of operations of any business. People need to be empowered by the right digital tools to function in today’s shifting environment and deal with cyber threats
  • Location independence: Technologies that support the shift to remote working business operations
  • Resilient delivery: Technologies capable of withstanding global risks and challenges in a constantly changing and volatile world

These data security trends are bound to have more much fear in companies to keep their security measures in check. It is expected that companies will spend more than ever on protecting their company hardware and software assets. With IT security a key part in almost every company, it would be a great choice to begin their learning curve in data and cyber security today, in order to become experts for tomorrow.

SEE ALSO: 7 Best remote work technologies needed for seamless WFH

For more latest IT news and updates, keep reading iTMunch

Image Courtesy:

Featured Image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image 1: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Sources
[1] Gartner (2020) “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021” [Online] Available from: https://www.gartner.com/en/publications/top-tech-trends-2021 [Accessed May 2021]

[2] Purplesec (2021) “2021 Cyber Security Statistics The Ultimate List Of Stats, Data & Trends” [Online] Available from https://purplesec.us/resources/cyber-security-statistics/ [Accessed May 2021]

[3] Gartner (2020) “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021” [Online] Available from: https://www.gartner.com/en/publications/top-tech-trends-2021 [Accessed May 2021]

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