What is Data Security for Organizations? Parallels Answers

The past two decades have seen rapid progress in technology. While the internet revolution has connected businesses around the world, cloud computing technologies have optimized resources. The Internet of Things (IoT) brings a versatile range of devices into the network. Gone are the days when communication was only possible between computers. The IoT revolution makes it possible to transmit data across a range of devices. Unfortunately, advances in technology are accompanied by data security threats. 

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, global IP network traffic is expected to reach 4.8 zettabytes per year by 2022. With such vast volumes of data traveling on the network, hackers have the incentive to develop scripts to capture data. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there were 1,473 data breach cases in 2019, up 17% from a year earlier, with the business sector having the most breaches, followed by the medical/healthcare, education, and financial sectors, with the government and military sectors bringing up the rear. Unauthorized access also accounted for 86% of sensitive records exposed.  

Whether big or small, data breaches can severely affect a company’s revenues. With the ever-evolving internet trends, data security threats are increasing exponentially. Data security must be addressed in many dimensions. 

Why is Data Security so Important?

When correctly implemented, strong data security procedures safeguard an organization’s information assets from cybercriminals, insider threats, and human mistakes, which is still one of the major causes of data breaches today. The deployment of tools and technology that improve the organization’s visibility into where its essential data sits and how it is utilized is part of data security. These technologies should ideally be able to safeguard sensitive information through encryption, data masking, and redaction and automate reporting to make audits and regulatory compliance easier.

Types of data security controls

Email security: Phishing via email spoofing and other means can compromise systems and result in security breaches that leak personally identifiable information (PII) such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and social media credentials. Automated scanning for malware and viruses and user education can counteract security threats from emails. 

Vulnerability assessment and automated patching: Vulnerabilities that could allow bad actors to take over existing systems and steal sensitive data are found on a regular basis. Regular reviews and automated application of patches are needed to ensure that the IT infrastructure is not exposed to such vulnerabilities. 

Real-time monitoring of third and fourth-party vendors: Third- and fourth-party vendors can be potential vectors for data breaches. Knowledge of their security postures is needed to control the risk. Regular vendor reviews could allow your team to catch threats that they may pose before they occur. 

Key management: An active defense posture requires the use of encryption for data at rest and in transit. Thus, there should be protocols in place for key management. Use of cryptographic keys throughout the organization is encouraged. 

Real-time risk assessments: Automated risk management systems and protocols are crucial to threat mitigation. An alternative is regular risk assessments and vendor questionnaires. No matter the strategy you choose, risk assessments should be carried out on a regular basis.  

What is Data Security: The Different Types

Data Security Strategies

People, procedures, and technology all play a role in a complete data security plan. It’s as much an issue of company policy as it is of deploying the correct toolset to establish adequate controls and procedures. This entails setting information security as a top priority across the board.

Access management and controls

Throughout your whole IT infrastructure, the notion of “least privilege access” should be observed. This entails giving database, network, and administrator account access to as few people as possible and only to those who require it to do their tasks.

Physical security of servers and user devices

Whether your data is kept on-premises, in a corporate data center, or in the public cloud, you must verify that the facilities are secure and that sufficient fire suppression and climate controls are in place. These security precautions will be taken care of by a cloud provider on your behalf.


A basic component of any comprehensive data protection policy is maintaining useable, well-verified backup copies of all essential data. All backups should also be subject to the same physical and logical security restrictions as the original DBs (databases) and core systems.

Application security and patching

After fixes or new versions are available, all software should be updated to the most recent version as quickly as feasible.

Employee education

Employees who are trained on the necessity of proper security procedures and password hygiene and how to spot social engineering attempts become a “human firewall” that may help protect your data.

Network and endpoint security monitoring and controls

Carrying out a comprehensive set of threat management, detection, and response tools in both on-premises and cloud environments can help to minimize risks and lower the likelihood of a leak.

Data Security Legal Compliance

Data security is governed by regulatory frameworks such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

GDPR governs the protection of personally identifiable information of EU citizens, including email addresses, IP addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, and account numbers. It also covers the use of personal data outside the EU. To meet GDPR regulations, the following areas in your data security framework should be strengthened.

HIPAA is a US law that regulates how organizations store health insurance information. To meet HIPAA regulations, you should perform the following:

File and perimeter activity monitoring: To prevent potential theft of sensitive data, your team should monitor activities where these data are used.

Keep access records: Under SOX, you are required to know which users are changing and accessing your systems. Thus, keeping logs of all activity performed on your systems is imperative. You should also ensure that your reports contain an adequate level of detail per SOX requirements.

Data Security in the Private and Public Cloud

what is data securityToday, everything resides in the cloud. In 2012, Gartner predicted the transition of offline PC systems to the cloud by 2014. The prediction was accurate. The majority of enterprises use at least one model of cloud computing technologies to carry out business procedures. However, increased agility and economic benefits come at a price. With the cloud and virtualization technologies, businesses have logical control over the data, but the actual data reside on servers managed by third-party providers. When multi-tenants share the infrastructure, data integrity is compromised.

Moreover, data compliance issues may arise when data reside away from company premises. Customer privacy needs to be maintained—data segregation techniques matter. Without clear visibility into operational intelligence, companies must rely on third-party security solutions. In the case of a data disaster, businesses should be able to retrieve data and services. Data and services should still be securely maintained if a cloud provider is acquired.

The traditional network-centric security solutions, such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls, cannot protect your data from hacking by privileged users and advanced persistent threats (APTs). Other methods, such as security information and event management (SIEM) and database audit and protection (DAP), are used for event correlation. With stringent data regulations in place and increased data breaches, businesses have to move from network-centric solutions to data-centric solutions by integrating data security intelligence and data firewalls to create a veritable firewall around the data. Robust access controls, key management, and encryption that are augmented with security intelligence are required because once you move everything into the cloud, you only have a web browser as an interface.

Data Security Law and Policy

what is data securityThe Data Protection Act 1998 is a British law that regulates the processing of data on identifiable living people. It controls how organizations, businesses, and the government use users’ personal information. While businesses have to cope with rapidly exploding big data, they have to work in compliance with data protection laws, which are more stringent when sensitive information such as ethnic background, religious beliefs, and criminal records are involved. As opposed to Britain and the European Union, the United States does not yet have a consolidated data protection law, instead adopting privacy legislation on an ad hoc basis. The Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and the Massachusetts Data Privacy Regulations of 2010 are a couple of examples.

When it comes to the cloud, there are no borders. A company located in one country might use CRM solutions offered by another company that is based in a different country. In such cases, it is not easy to know where the data are stored, how they are processed, and what data protection laws govern them. Businesses moving into the cloud should inquire about data management by the cloud provider.

Data Security in a Private Cloud Solution through Parallels RAS

While resource allocation and data security are the prime aspects of concern in the public cloud, private cloud deployment is a different ball game. In a private cloud, data are stored within your company’s perimeter, behind a dedicated firewall, and are securely accessed through encrypted connections. Data is always stored on your server, and remote users only get projections of data on their devices.

Moreover, a private cloud provides greater control over redundancy because you address your redundancy requirements when designing your data center environment. With the hardware being on-site, businesses have more control over data monitoring and management. Data compliance is adequately met. While businesses can enjoy the cloud’s scalability, agility, and mobility, security and business continuity are maintained at the highest level.

Applications hosted in the private cloud require less administrative overhead and reduced customer support while ensuring that only the latest versions of applications are used. However, higher costs, capacity ceiling, and on-site maintenance are a few aspects that should be considered. The key is to choose the right tool that delivers a secure cloud environment.

Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) is a leading software solution that allows companies to manage and deliver virtual applications and desktops from a private cloud. The flexibility of the product allows companies to leverage different hypervisors, such as Hyper-V, VMware, and Citrix. With Parallels RAS, organizations can guarantee secure access to corporate applications and data from any device. The SSL encryption secures the transmission of data between the device and the server farm.

The wide range of compatible devices makes Parallels RAS one of the most effective solutions available. Parallels RAS is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and HTML5.

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