At a level of the consumer many people want their personal information to be protected when it’s in the hands of a company. This desire extends into the enterprise, where security of data is crucial to build trust between employees, customers, and stakeholders.

Data security involves protecting digital data against destruction, theft and corruption throughout its lifetime. It covers everything from storage and hardware devices to user devices, software and access control. It also covers ensuring that policies and procedures to prevent data breaches.

Data security is achieved primarily by encryption, data masking, and resilience. Encryption of sensitive information is essential for every stage, including storage, transit and use. It makes the data inaccessible to anyone else. Data masking enhances encryption by replacing sensitive digital information with fake information for purposes like database administration, research and development software testing, as well as user training.

Resiliency is about having backups of vital data that can be restored quickly in the event of an incident. It also requires the removal of physical storage media basics like USBs and external drives (and even printed documents and files) on a regular basis to avoid having the information discovered by hackers.

Data security is a key priority for businesses because a public data breach could cost companies millions in recovery and forensic costs in compliance fines, as well as lasting damage to reputation and loyalty. It’s also a regulatory requirement, as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act require organizations to protect personal information.