Sensitive Data: Securing Your Most Important Asset

Sensitive Data: Securing Your Most Important Asset

According to Economist, “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” therefore protecting your most important asset which is sensitive data should be your first priority.

The fourth industrial revolution we are witnessing today ushered us into the digital era. With the expansion of the internet, many technologies grew in tandem. Information is now available at our fingertips. Anything and everything is possible in terms of services. Novel businesses like e-commerce, digital marketing, software development, web design, etc., have taken the front seat.

Additionally, several traditional industries like health and medicine, automobile, component manufacturing, FMCG, etc., have incorporated AI-based tools in their processes. This has enabled them to magnify their profits. However, anything that is related to the internet relies on bulk data processing.

The data comes from our phone activities and other things. Therefore, recently, we have seen a surge in data protection movements. People are uncomfortable with sharing sensitive personal data that could prove to be detrimental in the future. In this article, we will talk more about sensitive personal data and how to secure it.

Examples of sensitive data

Education records

The statutes on data protection across the globe have classified education records as sensitive personal data. This includes the academic and co-curricular records from the universities. The academic records rendered to the employer (past & present) also fall under the definition of personal data.

Moreover, all the records from other global universities also fall under sensitive personal data. According to the relevant regulations, employers and universities are legally obliged to protect education records by taking reasonable steps.

Customer information

When we shop online, we furnish a lot of personal data to the merchants. This data includes the date of birth, name, address, contact info, and account details. The merchants are legally required to protect consumer data at all costs. Additionally, if the merchant wants to share the consumer data, he/she has to get prior permission.

Also, the merchants must explain why they want to share consumer data with third parties. In case of any data manipulation, the merchant will be held accountable. However, merchant websites are barred from sharing some extremely personal data like card details, credit scores, etc.

How to protect sensitive data?

Before elaborating on protection measures, it is crucial to understand that not every data is sensitive data. For example, the security level outside of a public stadium vs. the security level in a bank is completely on different levels. This principle applies to data protection too. Therefore, first and foremost, it is crucial to classify different types of data.

This will help in designing different security levels. Additionally, organizations will be able to focus all their resources on the security of a small set of data, which would allow them to create a robust structure.

We have already seen the examples of sensitive data; now, let’s look at the examples of non-sensitive data. Non-sensitive data includes public information that is readily available in the public domain, general business data, etc. This is the difference between structured vs. unstructured data.

Before starting on cybersecurity, you must identify the sensitive data you have. Additionally, you should also know the accessibility of that data within your organization. This will help you understand the movement of sensitive data from your organization to other parties.

By collecting this information, you will be able to understand the cyber risks and vulnerabilities involved. So, you will be able to draw up a targeted data protection plan by restricting access and movement.

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