The teams in charge of safeguarding data have an enormous task ahead of them. So much is changing in the security landscape, and it has never been more important to be absolutely certain of your sensitive data strategy. There are probably hundreds of reasons why you should prioritise data security, many of which will be unique to your firm, but the three key issues are as follows:
- Widespread concern over data protection and surveillance. The general population is becoming very knowledgeable (and indeed worried) about the concept of data security and surveillance following the NSA scandal. This means that they expect you to be able to deliver a secure package as part of whatever they’re buying from you. If they think that your security is slack, then you may find yourself losing customer faith and ultimately losing the customers themselves.
- Regulatory turmoil and a rapidly changing set of rules. The laws and regulations by which data security is controlled keep growing. These increasingly numerous and complex sets of laws, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, affect you and your business directly. Being found in breach of the law, even if no data is compromised, can have a serious detrimental effect on any organisation.
- Your reputation will be tarnished if data goes missing on your watch. Customers demand absolute protection against criminals, vandals and other organisations who may wish them harm (financial or otherwise). As each data protection breach reaches the news, from a government official leaving his laptop on a train, to websites transmitting passwords in cleartext, the standing of that company plummets in the minds of the increasingly clued-up public.
As with real-life cargo, data is at its most vulnerable when it’s on the move. You lose control of your shipment of data as soon as it leaves your sysem, when it becomes as vulnerable to bandits as a bullion cart on the open road. Cyber-criminals can target all sorts of data for a variety of nefarious reasons, ranging from theft all the way to corporate espionage or even cyber-blackmail.
Businesses and organisations have always needed to deploy some sort of network security mechanism. You can keep your data behind Fort Knox level safety systems, and yes, in isolation this data might be very secure. But in transit, it can be intercepted by cyber-criminals – tapped lines, eavesdropping at switch points, and all manner of in-transit data theft.
This is obviously particularly risky on public networks, but organisations often seem to underestimate this risk. Few organsiations are able to transmit data purely over internal, private networks, meaning that at some point the data will leave the safety of your anti-virus and anti-intrusion fortress and potentially be left to fend for itself in the cyber-wilderness.
As such, organisations need to switch to a security framework that prioritises the data itself as opposed to the systems where it is stored. Providing the data with security of its own – a fortified, anti-virus box, surrounded by anti-intrusion guards – ensures that the protection stays with the data during its journey on public networks. You remain in control of the shipment, no matter where it goes. Even if attackers manage to breach some security, the safety deposit box that stores the data could be thick enough to prevent them accessing what’s inside.
High-speed Encryption and Why It Matters
Some organisations have been reluctant to sacrifice bandwidth for the sake of yet more security, but as we’ve found, a data breach is too nasty a situation for that risk to be taken. And anyway, data protection really doesn’t need to lead to huge bandwidth losses.
Layer 3 data networks are relatively outdated, as they don’t suit modern needs and the system doesn’t scale well. Instead, Layer 2 encryption (also known as high-speed encryption) is becoming very popular.
Dedicated appliances can secure a Layer 2 network without any loss of performance, or any increase in management resource use. This reliable, straightforward and ultimately less expensive system can prevent eavesdropping, surveillance, and interception of all types, at a low price and without any loss of speed or bandwidth.
Debunking the Security-performance Trade-off Myth
Due to increased cyber-criminal activity, tantamount to roving militias on the open road, data must be protected wherever it goes. Castles are no longer sufficient – if the data leaves your four walls, it must have enough armour to withstand a significant attack.
And while in years gone by it was considered uneconomical to protect data on a door-to-door basis, high-speed encryption makes that trade-off as obsolete as a moat and drawbridge. High-speed encryption is cheap, effective and fast – by decoupling your security strategy from your network architecture, you and your customers can be sure that all the data is protected, wherever it goes.
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