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November 11, 2020

Don’t Overlook Data Security in the Times of CoVid-19

The novel coronavirus, or the CoVid-19, has been rampaging the globe for more than 3 months now. With 487,050 reported cases across the globe (at the time of publishing this article), this virus has brought many countries to their knees. Social media is flooded with people emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquettes to reduce the infection rate of the virus. What is surprising is that, it is not that we did not know these practices, somehow, we’re finding that, until now, we haven’t really implemented them in our daily lives. This pandemic is teaching us how certain simple things, when not followed can lead to large scale impacts.

Unfortunately, this is a familiar story when it comes to the subject of data security.

In response to the coronavirus, an unprecedented number of organizations have moved towards digitalization of their workforce by implementing remote working policies for their employees. And as they do so, a number of potential entry points for criminals has also increased. Asking employees to work remotely introduces risks such as inadvertent security lapses due to the unsecured connections used by the employees. 

Organizations that have been dependent on perimeter security alone for protecting their sensitive data suddenly find themselves scrambling for ways to protect and monitor sensitive data access. However, had they taken a more robust approach by protecting the data where it resides – on premises or on the cloud, they could have had a smoother transition during these challenging times. Data Protection has always been more than just perimeter security; and we have known this fact since some time now.

Protecting the data where it resides ensures that data, even if it falls in the wrong hands is safe from misuse. Data protection techniques like masking, encryption and tokenization replaces the original sensitive data with a realistic value, thus ensuring the data is safe from misuse if fallen into the wrong hands, while also ensuring organizations get the value out of the data. To know more about the different data protection mechanisms, you can read this blog: “Encryption vs. Tokenization vs. Masking”.

While the coronavirus has been infecting and threatening human lives in the physical world, the digital lives of millions of people have been impacted due to improper and inadequate data security policies adopted by organizations. When compared to the 245 thousand people who have been affected with the virus in the past 3 months, more than 2.1 billion records2 have been stolen within the same time period! This number stands to increase even more in the upcoming months. Security researchers have seen a rise in the number of cybersecurity incidents with the rise of the CoVid pandemic. Cyber criminals are using this opportunity to let loose a barrage of phishing emails with malicious links, which when clicked by an unsuspecting individual will open the door for these malicious actors to gain entry into an organizations databases and data repositories.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic has opened the eyes of people regarding the importance of certain basic hygiene practices and etiquettes, we hope that organizations see the importance for implementing robust data security practices rather than simply being satisfied with only perimeter security implementations. Humanity has always emerged victorious in the past when faced with similar trials, and I am sure history will repeat itself once again. Similarly, let us all stand together against the digital pandemic that is caused due to inadequate data security measures in place. Let us work towards ensuring a safe environment for ourselves and our future generations – physically as well as digitally!