DEREK SMITH: ‘Peace of mind’ on data security


Derek Smith

Individuals, companies and governments alike are increasingly concerned about data security and privacy as the digital landscape continues to expand. It is essential to understand that data breaches and privacy violations can have far-reaching consequences, ranging from financial loss and reputational damage to identity theft and compromised national security. However, sensitive information can be proteced through robust tools and technologies. This article explores three essential tools that can bolster data security and privacy. They offer individuals and companies peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world.

Encryption, the shield of privacy

Encryption is one of the most important safeguards for protecting data from unauthorised access. With encryption, information is converted into an unreadable format using complex algorithms. According to statistical references, encryption is widely recognised as an effective defence mechanism. According to Entrust's Global Encryption Trends report, customer data is the top encryption priority among enterprises. Despite this, only 42 percent of respondents used encryption to secure their customer data in 2021.

End-to-end encryption protocols, such as those employed by secure messaging applications including Signal and WhatsApp, ensure that only the intended recipients can decipher the encrypted content. Alternatively, advanced encryption algorithms, such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), provide strong protection against hacking attempts, ensuring data privacy.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Gatekeeper passwords alone cannot protect sensitive data. By requiring multiple credentials for access, multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security. Unauthorised access is significantly reduced by MFA, according to statistics. In a report by Microsoft, MFA prevents 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks. MFA typically combines something the user knows (password), something the user possesses (smart phone or security key), and sometimes something the user is (biometrics). Using this combination, attackers will have a more challenging time gaining unauthorised access, even if a password is compromised. Biometric recognition (such as fingerprints or facial recognition) and hardware tokens are popular MFA methods.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Tools that prevent data loss and leaks, and the inappropriate sharing of sensitive information, are essential to any data loss prevention programme. By monitoring data flow within a company, DLP solutions detect and mitigate potential risks in real time. DLP technologies are effective based on statistical data. According to a study by Gartner, firms that deploy DLP tools experience a 60 percent reduction in sensitive data breaches. DLP tools use advanced techniques such as content analysis, machine learning and pre-defined policies to identify and prevent data exfiltration. Regulatory requirements and internal security policies can be met with these tools, regardless of whether the data is in motion, at rest or even in use. To prevent data loss and maintain data privacy, DLP tools identify and mitigate risks proactively.

In conclusion, practical tools are essential in an era of ubiquitous data breaches and privacy violations. Multi-factor authentication enhances access control by protecting against unauthorised access with encryption. Preventing data loss incidents requires the use of data loss prevention tools. It is possible for individuals and companies to significantly enhance their defences against evolving cyber threats by integrating these tools into their data security strategies. As digital landscapes evolve, investing in these tools is imperative for maintaining data privacy and trust.

NB: About Derek Smith Jr

Derek Smith Jr. has been a governance, risk and compliance professional for more than 20 years. He has held positions at a TerraLex member law firm, a Wolfsburg Group member bank and a ‘big four’ accounting firm. Mr Smith is a certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS), and the assistant vice-president, compliance and money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) for CG Atlantic’s family of companies (member of Coralisle Group) for The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.

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