Hiding sensitive data behind a password or on a secure hard drive provides a mostly reliable level of protection. However, either of these methods can easily fail. Passwords can be hacked and hard drives can be stolen or destroyed. For genuine security, it’s important to consider alternative methods of guarding data.
Many security-conscious businesses recognize the inherent risks associated with simple password protection or hard drive storage. Accordingly, these businesses adopt other methods of guarding their sensitive information. This can range from encrypting the data to purging some of it altogether. Here are just a few methods you can adopt to keep your private information safe.
Developing a data management system requires a great deal of testing, sometimes by third parties. However, using a client’s actual information for this is significantly risky. Healthcare providers, in particular, cannot allow their patients’ data to be leaked to an uninvolved person. That’s where data masking comes in. Masking the information involves replacing especially private data, such as social security numbers, with dummy information or an indication that it has been censored (such as replacing numbers with X). This allows testers to use the correct format of data in their development without compromising someone’s real information.
Data encryption is a fancy term for coded information. The original data, known as plaintext, is converted into a coded format known as cyphertext. Only authorized users with the correct decryption can decode and read the data. This is a particularly useful method of hiding data because if it’s stolen, it simply looks like nonsense to a would-be identity thief.
Pro Tip: If your company uses data encryption, keep the deciphering program just as private as the rest of your data. Only authorized users should be able to decrypt sensitive information.
Finally, there comes a point when certain data is no longer needed. Maybe the client has ended their business with you or simply had to update certain points. Whatever the case, the remaining data could still compromise their privacy if it’s stolen or leaked. This is the time to purge the data in question, completely wiping it from existence so that even a detailed scan cannot recover it. This process involves professional software and methods beyond just clicking and dragging the file to the recycle bin. Get in touch with your local IT professionals for more information on how data purging works.
Which Strategy Will Work for Your Company?
When it comes to computer security, it’s too easy to make the mistake of trying to adopt all three of these methods to protect your data. However, this is completely unnecessary. Not only will you have to deal with additional expenses, but your company may also struggle to share data with different employees with different levels of access, not to mention the chance that you may accidentally purge the wrong data. Consult with an expert before you settle on a strategy for good.
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