The Basics of Data Security and Cybersecurity

If there are two factors your business needs to consider about its IT infrastructure, it is cybersecurity and network security. When you are considering partnering with a data security services and IT solutions company, it pays to have an understanding of the key terms and concepts in the industry.

When you partner with Millennium Tech USA, we will always explain difficult concepts in layman’s language. We replace the technical jargon with terms our clients understand. But there are some key terms and concepts that will help you from the get-go ─ and here they are:

  • Data Breach

Data breaches occur when a company’s systems are breached, and sensitive information is stolen. These often contain personally-identifiable or financial data, which are highly valuable to cybercriminals.

  • Data Encryption

Data encryption prevents sensitive data from being used by unauthorized people. When you encrypt data, it becomes unreadable gibberish. Nobody can read the data unless they have the decryption key to unlock the code.

  • Data Masking

Like encryption, data masking helps to protect your sensitive data. Unlike encryption, the information is readable. However, once masked, the information is a fictional depiction of data in the same format as the original. There is no meaningful information, and it is impossible to retrieve the actual data.

  • Firewall

A firewall is a network security system that monitors the flow of data between networks. The firewall filters traffic entering or leaving a network, blocking all but authorized access/data.

  • Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) 

An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is a device or program that monitors network or system activities for malicious activity or policy violations and takes action to stop the offending activity, capturing and reporting information about them.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a method of confirming a user’s identity by using two or more different login components. In the context of online authentication, this typically entails a user being asked to provide two distinct pieces of evidence, one that only they have possession of, and another that only they know ─ for example, a password and a code sent by SMS.

  • Phishing/Spearphishing  

A phishing (or spearphishing) attack is an email or phone message that appears to come from a legitimate company but is designed to steal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Phishing attacks are targeted at many people, while spearphishing attacks are targeted at individuals (such as the CEO).

  • Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that denies the user access to their computer or individual files by locking them out and demanding a ransom to regain access. The ransom is typically in the form of money, but can also be in exchange for goods and services.

  • Risk management framework

A risk management framework is the disciplined approach used to integrate data security and risk management into your IT infrastructure and system development. This documents crucial elements such as monitoring, identification, assessment, management, mitigation, reporting, and security governance. 

Cybersecurity 101: Key Concepts

Here are four of the key concepts that should be included in all cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Identifying and managing security risks 

A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible for identifying and documenting security-related risks. Your organization should:

  • Document the necessary confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems, applications, and data

  • Ensure that risk management processes are appropriate and embedded in the risk management framework

  • Identify, monitor, and manage security risks throughout the lifecycle of systems and applications

Often, companies will hire an outside consultant to help with these responsibilities – because of their expertise, experience, and impartiality.

  1. Controls to reduce security risks

Security controls must be developed, documented, and shared to protect your company’s IT networks, systems, and sensitive data. Methods to do so include:

  • Compliant administration of systems

  • Vulnerability testing and management

  • Penetration testing

  • Limiting access to sensitive data

  • Embedding multi-factor authentication across your company

  • Using appropriate data encryption and data masking strategies

  • Effective system auditing procedures

In addition to the above, and perhaps most importantly, you should provide ongoing cybersecurity and data protection training to all employees.

  1. Detecting and managing cybersecurity events 

Employing tools such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to detect, analyze, and manage cybersecurity events in a timely fashion.

  1. Response and recovery policies

Being prepared for cybersecurity events is critical. Your policies should include:

  • Identification and reporting of cybersecurity events

  • The containment and elimination of cybersecurity events

  • Disaster recovery planning to enable continuity of your business

Embed data protection into your business strategy

Cyberthreats are never going to go away. They will continue to evolve in complexity and sophistication, and require constant monitoring, detection, and action to prevent. This is more than challenging for many small and medium businesses ─ hiring an inhouse cybersecurity team is expensive.

However, with a basic understanding of the concepts and terms used in cybersecurity and data security, your company will be better positioned to ensure that a cybersecurity partner provides the comprehensive protection you need. 

To discuss your specific and unique cybersecurity requirements, contact Millennium Tech USA today.

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