Organizations must have data security policies in place to ensure that the entirety of their data inventory is secured. That being said, data classified as ‘sensitive,’ requires more stringent and dedicated security controls to ensure that the crown jewels are left untouched. This category provides key definitions for sensitive data security measures, from categorization to guardrails.
The fourth phase of the data lifecycle. Data that is no longer in use but cannot yet be deleted will be archived. This is similar to data storage, but no maintenance is generally needed, and no usage is expected. As such, the controls around usage or archives defined in data lifecycle management should be limited and almost any use of this data should be defined as unnecessary. This can also lead to the implementation of stronger access controls.
The first stage of the data lifecycle is the creation of data. This includes both data captured using an unstructured format, such as a file uploaded by a user, or data captured into a structured database, such as a record added to an SQL database. Additionally, data creation does not necessarily refer to new data, but extends to copying existing data into a similar format or modifying the format for different purposes. The main security concern in this particular phase is keeping up with data creation across the organization and ensuring that security policies are applied as early as possible in its life cycle.
Data classification is the process of labeling data based on type, sensitivity and value, in order to assist companies in implementing necessary controls and regulations to limit and reduce security risks. Among the most sensitive data types are PHI, PII, and PCI.
One of the data protection positions. A Data Controller is the individual who, alone or with others, decides on the objectives and means of the processing of personal data. This individual may be a person, a company, a public authority, an agency, or another entity. National or community laws may identify the controller or the precise requirements for the nomination of the controller where the aims and means of processing are governed by such laws or regulations.
One of the data protection positions. A Data Custodian is often a person in an IT position who oversees infrastructure management for storage and security. Data Custodians concentrate on the "how" of data storage, and likely get day-to-day tasks from the Data Owner. They can structure or restructure a relational database system, employ middleware to support a central data warehouse, or provide workflows or schemes that demonstrate how databases are organized.
Data Lifecycle Management is a method that enables businesses to control the flow of data at all stages of its lifecycle, from initial creation to final disposal. The process is broken down into five stages: data creation, storge, usage, archival and destruction.
One of the data protection positions. A Data Owner has full legal authority and control over all data components, and is responsible for the organization's classification, protection, usage, and quality of one or more data sets.
One of the data protection positions. A human or legal being, governmental entity, business, or other organization that handles personal data on behalf of the controller. In some cases, an entity can be both a data controller and a data processor.
The administration and security of data requires the collaborative effort of numerous stakeholders in organizations, each with their own specific responsibility.
Data sovereignty is a concept surrounding information that has been translated into digital form and stored. This information is considered to be governed by the laws of the nation in which it is located. Many of the current concerns about data sovereignty have to do with upholding privacy laws and preventing data stored abroad from being subpoenaed by the government of the host country.
One of the data protection positions. A Data Steward is a subject-matter expert who has a thorough understanding of a specific data set. In accordance with the data governance principles established by the Data Owner, the Data Steward oversees the maintenance and implementation of the classification, protection, use, and quality of that data. Data Stewards are appointed to assist Data Owners in putting data policies into action.
One of the data protection positions. A Data Subject is a person who may be identified, either directly or indirectly, by using an identifying number or one or more characteristics that are unique to their identity in terms of their physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural, or social characteristics (e.g., telephone number, IP address).
Declassification is the process of officially changing the classification of data from classified to unclassified. There are a few declassification procedures, and in each one, the data is either completely or partially masked or hidden using different classifications.
The fifth and last phase of the data lifecycle. When data is no longer needed, it can and should be removed in order to improve on costs and compliance, with an additional - and significant - security bonus, as data that does not exist can no longer be at risk.
One of the most common data classifications. The sensitive data in the PCI category includes cardholder data such as the cardholder’s name, their primary account number, and the card’s expiration date and security code. It also includes sensitive authentication data such as magnetic-stripe data and the equivalent data contained on a chip, or PINs. In order to prevent credit card fraud, the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) created the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in 2004. PCI DSS is a security standard used by payment card companies around the world to securely process, store, and transfer cardholder data. All credit cards have PCI DSS security measures in place to protect cardholders from card fraud and identity theft.
One of the most common data classifications. Any health-related information generated or acquired by any entity protected by health privacy statutes. PHI includes any demographic data that relates to the physical or mental health of a person in the past, present, or future and any medical care that someone receives during their life.
One of the most common data classifications. A person's name, address, Social Security number, phone number, email address, or any other number or code that can be used to directly identify a person is considered PII. Along with other types of information, such as gender, race, date of birth, and location, PII is data that an organization can use to identify specific people. PII also includes any contact details that can be used to locate a person physically or online. In order to safeguard PII against unauthorized access, use, deletion, alterations, or other data breaches, organizations may be legally required by regional or national laws to maintain specific security controls.
One of the most common data classifications. Secrets are the credentials that organizations employ to carry out digital authentication anytime privileged users need to access critical corporate data or delicate applications and services. Secrets can exist in a variety of formats, such as passwords, API keys, tokens, SSH keys, private certificates, and encryption keys. Securing secrets is critical to the overall security of any business, and IT teams frequently use secrets management technologies in their DevOps settings.
The second phase of the data lifecycle. After data has been created, it is then stored for different purposes. A good data lifecycle management program will include policies to reduce the risk to the data stored – storing it only if needed, backing it up using a robust process, limiting access to relevant users and applications only, and maintaining a good security posture around the controls available for the data.
The third phase of the data lifecycle. Data is only helpful when it is used to support the business. It will need to be accessed and changed constantly, and may also be made available to share outside of the organization. The data lifecycle management policies will need to balance the business use cases with security needs, and to differentiate between legitimate use of the data and use that would put business or the privacy of the data at risk. Maintaining audit trails around data usage, monitoring for unnecessary usage and identifying any anomalies are key.
User Access Review is a control that ensures that only authorized users have access to applications or infrastructure. A User Access Review may lead an application business or IT owner to discover that users who have left the company or moved to another team still have access to applications or infrastructure athough this access should have been disabled.
Zero Standing Privilege (ZSP) is a concept that promotes improved IT security by eliminating standing privileges (broad user access privileges that are essentially “always on”) in the form of accounts that are associated with administrative controls. The availability of such accounts increases the attack surface for privilege misuse, which poses a serious risk to organizations.