The data security market: key strategies

The major strategies in the data security market are all designed to protect digital information from unauthorized access, corruption or theft. These strategies focus on both accidental loss and intentional theft, making the data security market a broad category with many products under one umbrella.

On the hardware side, the data security market encompasses backup, storage and recovery, as well as physical policies such as remote backups and “air breaks” where hardware is physically separate and not networked.

On the software side, the data security market includes best practices governing data protection techniques such as encryption, key management, data redaction and data masking, as well as privileged user access controls and auditing and monitoring. This includes data security for cloud computing.

The result is a booming data security market. According to market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the data security market is expected to grow from an estimated $31.0 billion in 2022 to $55.3 billion in 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 12.3%. Factors driving the market growth include digital transformation and related security issues, compliance with strict regulatory guidelines, and increased adoption of cloud technology and edge computing devices in enterprises.

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What are the key strategies in the data security market?

Data security best practices typically require a layered strategy designed to employ multiple layers of defense. Based on that, here are the leading strategies that managers use to protect data security.

1. Protect the data itself

There is a tendency to focus security only on the perimeter of the network and put the emphasis on the firewall. But what happens when an intruder goes through the firewall? If the data is unprotected and unencrypted, they have full access to it. So ensure good data protection inside the firewall as well.

2. Adopt zero trust network design

Zero trust networks are just that; Users cannot roam freely on a Zero Trust network. They need to validate their credentials and prove they have the right to access that data whenever they move. Zero Trust networks are very effective at stopping an intruder, but they require significant restructuring of a network.

3. Encrypt all data

Data should not be unencrypted and readable for everyone in the network or in the cloud. Ensure that all data is stored in an encrypted format and remains encrypted during migration, as significant data loss can occur when data is transferred.

4. Establish strong passwords and policies

Too many companies still have lax password policies that allow their employees to use simple, generic, and easily guessed passwords without having to change them regularly. No doubt employees will complain about using strong passwords, but this is a necessary step. That means they must change their password at least every 90 days and not allow them to reuse old passwords.

5. Test Security

Don’t just assume that the network is safe and secure because a firewall and antivirus programs have been installed. Security programs are fallible and prone to bugs and exploits, and hackers are determined. Just as software is tested for functionality during development, you must test your firewall and security systems to ensure they work.

6. Invest more money and time in cyber security

Security is hard to sell because the true return on investment (ROI) depends on “nothing happening”. Businesses spend thousands if not millions on security measures, and since they don’t get reports of attacks, they may never really know if it’s working or not, or if it’s keeping criminals away. Many large organizations with sensitive business data appoint Chief Security Officers (CSOs) or Chief Information and Security Officers (CISOs) to enforce policies and make them a C-suite priority.

7. Update systems regularly

Patching is a never-ending process. Most hardware and software companies have regular updates for vulnerabilities, either monthly, quarterly, or when the need arises. In a large enterprise, that’s a lot to patch: the hardware firmware, the operating system, the applications, the firewall, and more. But it is a necessary evil that must be done.

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8. Clean data storage

Many companies are sloppy when it comes to managing their data storage. They leave redundant copies lying around in multiple places. Most decent storage systems come with data duplication applications to find and remove redundant data and keep data stores clean and sanitized.

9. Back up data regularly

Regular backups of both on-premises and cloud data are a must. On-premises backup allows organizations to store data in a different physical location in the event of a data center disaster, while cloud backup securely stores data in the cloud. In both cases, disaster recovery software helps companies recover lost data quickly.

10. Implement an enterprise-wide security mindset

Data security isn’t just the job of the CSO and IT department, it’s a job for everyone who logs on to the network. Your responsibilities include strong passwords and implementing best practices. That means not opening email attachments from unknown senders, not sharing login and password information, and not leaving login and password information on sticky paper in the office.

11. Consider the physical security of the data center

Wherever data is stored locally, it should be the hardest to reach, and it should be the most physically secure location. This means that only as few people as possible are granted access to databases, networks, and administrator accounts, and only those who absolutely need it to do their job. In addition, it should have full civil protection equipment such as firefighting and air conditioning.

12. Use comprehensive network monitoring

Network security and monitoring tools tend to be highly specialized and not comprehensive. It’s rare to find a product or tool that covers all aspects of network monitoring. Therefore, there is a need to implement a comprehensive suite of threat management, detection, and response tools in on-premises environments.

13. Consider data security and BYOD policies

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is never going away, so companies might as well prepare for it. That can mean installing appropriate security software and services for employees who want to use their PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. If it works for a company-issued device, it should work for a BYOD device.

14. Use encryption

Far too many records are completely unencrypted and unprotected from theft. Encryption keys scramble data so that only authorized users can read it. There are also file and database encryption solutions that act as a last line of defense by obfuscating their contents through encryption or tokenization. Databases are equipped with encryption and other protections; they just have to be turned on.

15. Implement data masking

Data masking removes bits of data from an entry and replaces them with an asterisk or other character. You’ve probably seen it used in secure logins and passwords. By incorporating data masking, a company can develop applications that use real data without worrying about disclosure.

16. Employ a sound backup policy

It goes without saying that organizations must maintain viable, thoroughly tested backup copies of all critical data. All backups should be subject to the same physical and policy-based security controls applied to the primary databases and core systems. Backing up with a legally compliant cloud provider can save a lot of trouble, as they are responsible for the physical and virtual security of the data.

17. Invest in staff training

Educating employees on the importance of good security practices is vital and all too often overlooked or simply embraced. There’s a reason phishing attacks are so successful; far too many employees don’t know enough not to click on a link or attachment from an unknown sender, and this problem has plagued IT for decades.

It is not enough to put together a manual of practices and policies. Time must be spent training employees and educating them about what is expected of them.

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What is the future of the data security market?

Business is undergoing a digital transformation revolution as data recorded in physical formats is converted to a digital format. This means there is far more data to protect and highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance are particularly sensitive to this issue.

The sheer volume of data that organizations generate and store both on-premises and in the cloud is growing at an incredible rate, increasing the need for data governance. This is made even more complex with the advent of edge computing and the Internet of Things, which produces data outside of the data center.

Businesses are creating and managing data like never before, and their risk of loss has never been greater. From trade secrets and intellectual property (IP) to customer information, a company’s data is its lifeblood and confidence in its ability to protect the data has never been more important. IBM states that 75% of consumers surveyed said they would not buy from companies they do not trust to protect their information.