Chances are that you use websites, software and other services online. When you use these, you entrust some of your data to the service. In some cases, this data is relatively benign such as your browsing habits. However, sometimes the data can be very sensitive such as personal details and payment information. So, you may wonder how those companies keep your data safe.
1) Access Control
One of the simplest techniques used by organizations to protect data is access control. This is a fairly easy concept to understand. Only certain people are allowed to access a given type of data. In certain cases, the organization may even prevent anyone from accessing certain data.Think of it as being like a bank. Anyone can walk into the lobby. Only employees are allowed into the teller area. Only the manager and security personnel are allowed in the vault (this may not be completely true, but you get the idea). This helps to protect the money through careful control.
2) Data Encryption
Another important strategy is data encryption. This is essentially a very complex cipher used to protect data from being read by an unauthorized party. The data is passed through an algorithm and can only be decrypted with an appropriate key. Unlike a simple cipher, the encryption algorithm cannot be reverse-engineered. It is almost insurmountably difficult to break modern encryption without the key. This is used to protect data being sent between you and the service (using secure socket layer). It may also be used to protect data stored on servers.
3) Security Policies
Good security policies also help to keep your data safe. This can include requiring strong passwords and preventing opening sketchy emails and similar threats. Companies that care about security spend a lot of time training staff to be smart about how they interact with your data and the network. This is because people are almost always the weakest point in any system. People can be tricked far more easily than modern network security can be defeated.
4) Network Segmentation
As mentioned above, a bank can protect its assets by giving different people access to different parts of the bank. A similar concept can be applied to a company network. By breaking up the different types of work and traffic, a company can mitigate risk and protect against error-related breaches. For example, a network may segment work being done by the team at the business from traffic being received from customers. This breakdown helps to keep the traffic being controlled by humans away from the traffic being managed entirely by software.
Unsurprisingly, many companies use firewalls to detect and stop malicious traffic on their networks. Of course, these are often not like the firewall you may have installed on your computer. They are often hardware firewalls deployed on the network to monitor traffic before it even reaches a computer. Most companies also use some software firewalls installed on computers. Plus, modern operating systems have integrated firewalls to help protect users from online threats. So, you can expect most companies to have multiple layers of protection from malicious traffic.
6) Anti-Malware Software
Similarly, most companies have anti-malware software set up on their networks. Malware includes viruses, trojans, keyloggers, spyware and any other software that is used to infect and attack computer systems. It probably comes as no surprise that malware is a very serious threat for any organization that deals with users’ data a lot. Therefore, detecting, isolating and eliminating malware is very important. Additionally, those companies go to great lengths to prevent malware from getting into their systems at all.
Discover more about network security and how companies keep your data safe. By applying complex and multi-layered approaches to security, they can significantly minimize the risk of any unauthorized party accessing or damaging data. Nonetheless, these problems do occur. So, it is important to be cautious about who you share data with.