Secure Data Management: Importance, Risks, Best Practices

Secure Data Management: Importance, Risks, Best Practices

Organizations and individuals alike generate 328.77 million terabytes of data daily. Data is the lifeblood of modern society, permeating personal and professional lives. In the US alone, over 2,700 data centers are processing billions of data.

For cybercriminals, stealing data is as lucrative as stealing gold. They earn a lot from stolen information, and in the first quarter of 2024, over 30 billion records were breached from 8,000 publicly disclosed incidents. Cyber threats pose a serious concern to organizations, prompting them to prioritize secure data management along with other critical aspects of their operations.

Secure Data Management: Importance, Risks, Best Practices

What Is Secure Data Management?

Secure data management is the systematic protection of information assets throughout their lifecycle. It involves safeguarding data from when it’s collected, stored, processed, and disposed of. As long as the data is in your possession, you have the moral obligation to keep it safe. 

A secure data management solution incorporates various technologies, policies, and procedures designed to mitigate the risks of data breaches. This includes both digital and physical processes required for data acquisition and storage. It also aims to keep organizations compliant with data regulatory requirements like HIPAA. 

There are several key components to a secure data management tool. These are:

Sensitive data are encoded with encryption algorithms to make them unreadable to unauthorized individuals. Even if data is intercepted during transit or stolen, no one can read it without the corresponding encryption key.

Likewise, only authorized users are given access to sensitive data. Secure data management tools use authentication mechanisms and role-based access controls to restrict data access. Sensitive data is further concealed by replacing real data with fictionalized or scrambled values.

Secure data management solutions also use robust backup and recovery processes to protect against data loss and ensure business continuity. You’re also encouraged to monitor and audit data access and usage regularly. This helps detect and address security vulnerabilities on time.

secure data management solution

The Importance Of Protecting Sensitive Information

Poor data security practices have compromised millions of corporations and individuals in the past several years. In 2022, over 65% of US companies faced a cyber threat from external factors. Worldwide, malware attacks reached 5.5 billion in 2022, a two-percent increase from 2021. 

Cybercriminals steal sensitive information to sell them for a high price in the black market. There are also those that ransom data for money. Manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and consumer services are among the most targeted industries. Criminals target the personal and proprietary information these companies store in their databases.

Beyond financial ramifications, the loss or compromise of sensitive information has far-reaching consequences. These consequences include reputational damage, legal liabilities, and erosion of public trust. 

When Yahoo suffered from consecutive cyber attacks in the early 2010s, the company failed to disclose the extent of the damage. It was only after the company was bought by Verizon that the number of breached accounts, totaling 3 billion user accounts, was discovered. This resulted in a $35 million fine and 41 class-action lawsuits.

Protecting sensitive information is a matter of corporate responsibility. Customers trust your organization with their private and sensitive information, expecting you to safeguard it at all costs. Doing so helps build a positive reputation, ultimately increasing customer loyalty.

Risks of Insecure Data Management

The consequences of inadequate data security are multifaceted. Here are some of the prominent associated risks:

  • Data breaches: Unauthorized access, theft, or accidental disclosure of sensitive information.
  • Financial losses: Direct financial implications arising from fraud, extortion, and legal penalties.
  • Reputational Damages: Loss of trust and credibility among customers, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Regulatory non-compliance: Violating data protection laws and regulations leads to legal sanctions and fines.
  • Operational disruptions: Downtime and disruption of business operations due to data loss or system compromises.
  • Intellectual property theft: Theft of intellectual property assets, including trade secrets, patents, and copyrights.

These are just some of the risks of poor data management practices. Using a secure data management app will help avoid many of these risks.

Secure Data Management: Importance, Risks, Best Practices

Best Practices for Secure Data Management

Your data security is only as strong as your weakest link. To protect against cybercriminals, you must ensure you’ve got all data aspects covered. Think of the entire data lifecycle and invest in a secure data management app that covers the entire data process.

Here are some best practices you should observe:

  • Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Prioritize mitigation efforts to address security risks and prevent any serious damage.
  • Classify data depending on its sensitivity and implement appropriate security controls.
  • Implement role-based access and lock data behind layers of user access verifications.
  • Regularly train employees on security best practices. Help them spot social engineering attacks like phishing emails and increase their security awareness.
  • Update software with the latest patches to prevent any loopholes in your system.
  • Monitor any third-party services and carefully evaluate vendors. Make sure they also adhere to strict data security standards.
  • Develop an incident response plan to effectively respond to and mitigate data security incidents.
  • Regularly review your organization’s data security practices and improve them to match the recent security developments.

When it comes to data, complacency can be catastrophic. Securing your organization’s data is a must to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Secure data management involves the entire organization, from the CEO to the new intern. Everyone must do their part to manage data securely and efficiently.

Otherwise, all the efforts made could easily be rendered futile if even one weak link exists in the data security chain.

Kent Cañas

Kent is a content strategist currently specializing in HIPAA-compliant online fax. Her expertise in this field allows her to provide valuable insights to clients seeking a secure and efficient online fax solution.

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