Data is one of the most important assets of an organization; hence, it must be secured and protected. Data typically goes in and out of an organization’s internal network in order to conduct business and do valuable work. These days, data reside in the cloud, go to employees’ mobile devices or to business partners’ networks. Laptops and USB drives containing sensitive information sometimes get lost or stolen.
In order to protect the data, security must travel with the data. For a long time, the focus of security is on the network and on the devices where the data resides. Infrastructure security such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, etc. are not enough anymore. The focus should now shift to protecting the data itself.
Data-centric security is very useful in dealing with data breaches, especially with data containing sensitive information such as personally identifiable information, financial information and credit card numbers, health information and intellectual property data.
The key to data-centric security is strong encryption because if the public or hackers get ahold of sensitive data, it will show up as garbled information which is pretty much useless to them. To implement a robust data-centric security, the following should be considered:
1. Strong data at rest encryption on the server/storage side, applications and databases.
2. Strong in-transit encryption using public key infrastructure (PKI).
3. Effective management of encryption keys.
4. Centralized control of security policy which enforce standards and protection on data stored on the devices at the endpoints or on the central servers and storage.