Data at Rest: Myths, Reality and Best Practices

A staggering 66% of organizations fell victim to ransomware attacks in 2023, as reported by Sophos. Amidst this alarming statistic, however, there is a beacon of hope: 97% of those organizations that had encrypted their data were able to recover it. As ransomware technology becomes increasingly pervasive and sophisticated, the frequency of such attacks is expected to rise. While the focus may often be on securing data in transit, the importance of protecting data at rest cannot be overstated. This article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the realm of data at rest – from understanding its significance to dispelling common misconceptions. Additionally, we’ll delve into essential best practices for safeguarding your data at rest.

What is data at rest?

At its core, data at rest is data that is stored or archived. It is not the data in transit, which is data moving between devices or networks. While this may sound straight forward, there are a lot of misconceptions about security for data at rest. For more details on the differences between data at rest and data in transit, check out our article that covers all you need to know about data states.

Myths about Data at Rest Security

The field of data security is rife with misunderstandings and misconceptions. Arming yourself with accurate knowledge is the best way to secure your data and company’s assets proactively and effectively.

  • Myth: Securing data at rest is unnecessary for small businesses.

It’s a common fallacy that hackers only target large businesses; cybercriminals do not discriminate based on business size or industry. While there are typically some industries and companies that are hit more often than others, all are at risk. The opposite may even turn out to be true in the long term as small businesses generally have weaker security measures in place making them easier targets.

  • Myth: Cyberattacks are unable to compromise data at rest.

Data at rest is not inherently safe from cyberattacks. It is less vulnerable than data in transit but is actually highly valuable to hackers, because files and databases often contain sensitive personal and financial information that can be sold or exploited on the dark web .

  • Myth: Password protection entirely secures data at rest.

Passwords are often the first line of defense in securing systems. While passwords are an important facet of data security, on their own they are not enough to protect you and your business. Unfortunately, passwords are often guessed or stolen through phishing attacks or other methods. It’s important to implement a multi-layered approach when it comes to security, of which passwords are just one small component.

  • Myth: Physical security will fully protect data at rest.

Another misconception when it comes to data at rest is that physical security, such as locking up computers or storing hard drives in a safe, is enough to secure your information. While this may protect your data from a physical attack, it is insufficient for protecting data from theft or unauthorized access. By simply exploiting software vulnerabilities or utilizing social engineering methods, hackers will be able to access this data. Encryption is ultimately the best method of protecting data at rest.

Best practices to protect data at rest

Along with understanding what is true and what is false regarding data at rest, it’s important to understand best practices that can be implemented to protect your data at rest.

  • Require strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA)

While passwords alone are not enough to protect your data at rest, in combination with other techniques such as encryption and MFA, passwords can assist in preventing unauthorized access to data.

  • Encrypt your data at rest

Encrypting your data at rest is the most effective approach to ensure that your sensitive information remains unreadable to unauthorized users. Sensitive information in the hands of the cyberthieves can often increase the ransom fee the hackers will charge to recover the data. Secure encryption protects files and documents, effectively thwarting data leakage, unauthorized access, and physical theft.

NetLib Security has created a Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) Solution which is effortless, simple, maintenance-free, and operates without requiring user intervention. It’s developer-friendly and typically can be deployed within a few hours. NetLib Security’s Encryptionizer offers seamless data encryption to safeguard critical information against acquisition, replication, or theft within your organization. Its robust features assure secure protection for distributed databases across cloud, virtual, and physical environments. NetLib Security will handle the data security so you can focus on your business.

  • Implement access controls

Implementing access controls limits who can access your company’s sensitive data and prevents unauthorized access. One way to do this is by ensuring that only those who need access to perform their job functions actually have access. A best practice is to start with maximum restrictions and then provide permissions only as needed. This reduces the hazard of data breaches and makes it easier to keep track of who has access. Be sure to regularly update and review access privileges amongst the team.

  • Stay up to date with security protocols

Regularly install software updates, patches and more to keep systems up to date and performing at the highest caliber. It’s also important that employees are aware of these protocols and aware of data security as a whole. The majority of hackers gain access to sensitive data through human interaction. Training and educating employees on the importance of data security and how to identify threats is critical in ensuring your data at rest is secure.

About NetLib Security

NetLib Security has spent the past 20+ years developing a powerful, patented solution that starts by setting up a formidable offense for every environment where your data resides: physical, virtual and cloud. Our platform simplifies the process while ensuring high levels of security.

Simplify your data security needs. Encryptionizer is easy to deploy. It is a cost-effective way to proactively and transparently protect your sensitive data that allows you to quickly and confidently meet your security requirements. With budget considerations in mind, we have designed an affordable data security platform that protects, manages, and defends your data, while responding to the ever changing compliance requirements.

Data breaches are expensive. Security does not have to be.

NetLib Security works with government agencies, healthcare organizations, small to large enterprises, financial services, credit card processors, distributors, and resellers to provide a flexible data security solution that meets their evolving needs. To learn more or request a free evaluation visit us at www.netlibsecurity.com.