The term “data at rest” refers to data in computer storage. Its opposite is data in motion, which is a phrase used to describe data traversing a network. It can even apply to information temporarily residing in a computer’s memory.
Data at rest is an important concept within the information technology realm. In this article, we examine three things you absolutely must know about data at rest. Pay close attention to the second item, data encryption, because it could mean the difference between success and failure for your business.
1. Data at Rest Is Still Vulnerable to Threats
Just because information isn’t traveling across a network doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Here’s one way to look at it: let’s say you store some old, unused, but still valuable belongings in a self-storage unit. You decide not to bother with taking many security measures, because what you’re storing is old, and you believe that its value is reduced because of that fact.
Someone else with less than honorable intentions realizes that your belongings are indeed valuable, and breaks into the self-storage unit, stealing what turns out to be something worth quite a bit of money. The same thing can happen to data.
If businesses do not take proper security measures, what they believe to be old and less useful information, such as a former client’s sensitive information, could be stolen and sold for a high profit.
2. Encrypt Your Data to Keep It Safe
Encryption is a security tool that translates information into a virtually unbreakable code. Think of it as a lock for a self-storage unit that keeps your belongings (in this case, data) safe. Unless someone has the encryption key, that individual cannot access encrypted information.
As mentioned earlier, simply because data is not fresh or it is “static” doesn’t mean that it isn’t sensitive or worth something to someone else. The loss or theft of information has significant negative repercussions for companies. Firstly, clients don’t trust businesses that suffer data breaches.
As a result, these firms lose customers and revenue. Secondly, certain types of data must be encrypted according to international and domestic laws. These types of information include financial data such as credit card numbers. Laws protect personal data so that no one can steal someone else’s identity.
3. Data at Rest Should Be Coupled with Data in Motion to Create Value for Businesses
These two types of information are not contrary; rather, they are complementary. Businesses can use data at rest to learn from the past to predict future customer actions.
For example, analysts can examine historical information such as how long a customer spent on a website page before purchasing a product to learn about the behaviors that led to conversion. Steven Noels of NGDATA, a Belgium-based CRM provider, recommends mapping old data to gain a better understanding of the parameters for conversion.
He also advises businesses to examine information in real time to discover which customers are becoming more active or less active, or even inactive. Without data at rest, Noels asserts, companies cannot develop insight into how best to attract, retain and engage customers.
However, without data in motion, they cannot act on that information in real time in order to keep those clients. Firms should put data at rest and data in motion at work together for optimal results.
Are You Protecting Your Data at Rest Properly? At All?
Data thieves are very savvy, and unless a business has a solution to adequately protect their data, digital information can easily be stolen, which can cause big problems for a business. At WinMagic, we have more than 18 years experience helping businesses small and large around the world protect their data with state-of-the-art reliable encryption tools. We know what is at stake, and we know how to keep data safe.
Learn more about our award winning SecureDoc software, and either request an evaluation copy or an online demo. Let us show you why encryption is crucial for your business, and how it will bring you peace of mind.