Protecting data is becoming increasingly important in our highly internet savvy world. With millions of people using the internet daily, and an unfortunate amount of them using it for less than honest purposes, securing your website data is a huge priority for consumers and business owners alike.
This is especially true if you have a business or organization that keeps a database of secure client information such as telephone numbers, social security information, credit card numbers, and home addresses. It’s important to make sure you use the most up-to-date types of data security and encryption processes to minimize the change of anything being intercepted as it is transferred over the internet.
Protecting Your Data With Encryption
There are a number of ways to protect online information, with data encryption being the most commonly used by to protect information transferred between servers and clients, or in data storage centers. A well trained data security team will be able to advise you on the best way to secure your information and keep it safe. Here are several important ways to protect your company data, user information and financial accounts.
Use of Encryption
Encryption transforms data, making it unreadable to anyone without the decryption key. By encrypting data as it is exchanged between web browsers and servers, personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and addresses can be sent securely over the internet with much less risk of being intercepted during the process.
Two types of protocols used during the encryption are:
● Secure Shell (SSH) Encryption Protocol – This process involves the encryption of all data between the browser and the server while they are communicating at the shell.
● Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption Protocol – This involves encrypting all data in the transaction between the web browser and the web server, before any data is transferred. This protects secure data like a “shell” covering up the data as it transfers across online connections.
Types of Data Encryption Used To Protect Your Information
Authentication is the process used to prove that a computer user is who they say they are. It identifies who the system (or person) is, and then verifies that they are “authentic”. This data encryption tool is used by servers to find out who exactly is accessing their website or online information. It’s also used by clients who need to be sure the server is the system it is claiming to be. The process of authentication generally involves the use of a username and password, or it can be accomplished through voice recognition, fingerprints, employee ID cards, or even something as complicated as retina scans.
Web servers issue authentication certificates to clients as well, which are proof that the system truly belongs to the entity it is claiming. These certificates are often processed through third party authentication, such as Thawte or Verisign. You can check which authentication is used by a company by looking on their website for a seal or link to the third party provider they use.
Authorization is usually coupled with the authentication process, determining whether or not the client has permission to access the resource or file they are requesting. By using authentication, the server identifies who you are, then checks a list of authorized users to see if you are allowed to visit the website, open the file or use the resource you are attempting to access. This may involve a password, or it may not.
Authorization usually only grants or revokes access based on your identity as you log in to the file or website. Most internet web pages are open to the public, and do not require authentication or authorization to access. Private sites, company restricted information, and other private data is generally encrypted with authentication and authorization tools.
Identity Management describes the process of managing the authentication and authorization of people within an organization. An identity management system keeps track of privileges across an entire entity, increasing security and productivity for a business. Identity management can be accomplished with active directories, identity providers, access control systems, digital identity managers, and password authentication. By keeping track of how users receive an identity, protecting that identity, and granting appropriate access, the identity management system saves money, repetitive tasks, and downtime of the system.
Back-up plan in case data is breached. How to assess the situation without a big loss
What do you do if, despite your best efforts, sensitive company or client data is breached? It’s important to have an emergency plan with an outline of the proper steps to take in this unfortunate situation. In order to act appropriately, be aware of government regulations and rules for how to handle this kind of situation.
According to the Better Business Bureau, some important steps to take to prepare for and react to a data breach situation includes:
1. Create a “Data Breach Notification Policy” to let your consumers know how you will handle the situation if data compromise has occurred.
2. Train your employees to identify possible breaches in data and how to report it.
3. When a data breach has occurred, immediately gather the facts so you know what was accessed, how it was accessed, and how you can prevent more data from being compromised.
4. Notify any financial institutions involved. For instance, if bank account numbers were accessed, notify the relevant banks immediately so they can watch accounts for suspicious activity. If credit card numbers were affected, credit companies can change card numbers and make old numbers ineffective. This will minimize damage.
5. Seek outside counsel from a lawyer, a risk consulting company, or a relevant government agency. They can help you identify the laws involved and whether you need to alert clients, consumers, or the government of the incident.
The Importance of Taking Precautions to Secure Data with Credentials
The importance of securing your data with authentication protocols and credentials cannot be overstated. Making sure that secure data is viewable and accessible by only those with the proper credentials is important for the management of any business. Find a data security partner who shares your vision for the protection of company documents, user identification information, and other private information. Take every precaution necessary to make sure your customers, employees, and your business data is protected against hackers, thieves, and those wishing to do harm to your business, clients, and employees.