There are two very important days in the life of an IT professional: The day he is born, and the day he understands that data must be protected both in transit and at rest.
Every IT professional knows the day they were born, but you’ll be shocked at the number yet to master the intricacies of data security.
Fortunately, today is more than your lucky day. Mark it in your calendar because today is the day you master the why of securing data both in transit and at rest.
Data at Rest vs. Data in Transit: Separating Grain from Chaff
The cheeky text message you sent your buddy John last night was data in transit at some point in its journey. Similarly, that clunky employee file that’s covered in seams in dust in the office is, quite simply, data at rest (that’s a terrible way to store critical files, though).
You get the point…
But in case you need a more elaborate definition, we’ll still supply you with one:
Data at rest: This is data that’s not actively moving from network to network or from device to device. So yes, that dusty employee file, that shiny Apple laptop on your desk, those two flash drives on your pocket are all great examples of data at rest.
Data in transit: This is data that’s on the move. It’s data that’s traversing ecosystems, networks, devices and locations. Perhaps what’s less of a surprise are the examples in this category, namely: Web-browsing over a wireless connection, sending a text message or shooting a simple mail.
This brings us to the bone of contention in this blog: Why data ought to be protected while it’s in transit or at rest.
Why Secure Data That’s on the Move or at Rest?
1. Because Cybercriminals are on the Loose (and They’re Sparing No One)
A lot has changed since the 70s. The internet is no longer a safe haven for in-transit data, and that’s just being fair to the folks who still deem it as the greatest human invention ever.
The malice that happens in the web is hard to put into words. Such is its severity and magnitude. In 2020 alone, cyber-crime costs organizations $2.9 million every minute.
On the internet, bad actors exist in their numbers and specialties. There’s Paul the hacker who’s obsessed with holding critical data for a pretty ransom; there’s Jane the script kiddy who’s seriously adept at bespoking penetration tools; and then there’s Jake, who’s a cybercriminal on a mission—to phish through every public Wi-Fi network he lays his hands on in search of credit card numbers.
Part of the reason why in-transit data is every hacker’s shiny diamond is its inherent vulnerability. It’s the same way you’d have a stack of money locked up in the house compared to carrying it while going out. Trust me, you wouldn’t go three houses down the block before muggers sniffed it from a mile out.
Protecting in-transit data through tools like MOVEit Transfer ensures that it’s safe from the long, nifty hands of malicious actors. With an array of award-winning capabilities (think tamper-evident logging, AES-256 cryptography and so on), MOVEit is the armored car you need to keep cybercriminals bad actors at bay.
2. Because Reactive Security Backfires Every Single Time
This is a big one for protecting data that’s at rest.
Most IT specialists and CIOs assume that just because data is at rest, it’s out of the clutches of bad actors. Worse still, they presume that reactive security measures work like a charm when they’re implemented correctly. Well, guess what? They never do.
Research has it that 23% of all data breaches are caused by human negligence—more specifically, employee negligence. In all honesty, some of these cases could’ve been avoided had there been solid proactive data security measures in place. Sadly though, the statistics around this nemesis are still on the rise.
The bottom line? However glittery and water-tight your reactive security strategy is, it won’t cut it in the face of constant internal negligence, sabotage and attack.
3. Because Data Breaches Have Been Proven to Bring Affected Organizations Down on their Knees
Whether at rest or in motion, data is—dare we say?—immense value. What’s the word again? Priceless.
That’s why CIOs and IT leaders in affected organizations wet their pants when they realize their customers’ most sensitive data has fallen at the mercy of malicious actors. They know too well that they’ll have to empty their accounts dry if they’re to regain that data back unperturbed. Even if the liable hackers won’t demand a hefty sum as ransom, the affected company will likely be fined heavily by the associated industry or government association. It’s the classic case of facing a double edged sword.
4. Because It’s Your Responsibility
Feeding your pet is your responsibility. Watering that beautiful garden in your backyard is your responsibility. Securing your customers’ data while it’s in transit or at rest? Say no more…
At this point in the history of humanity, securing sensitive data, especially data in transit, is a no-brainer. It’s mandatory. And regulations such as PCI DSS, GDPR, and HIPPA exist to make sure companies—especially the ones in healthcare, finance and law—don’t cross this thin line.
You obviously wouldn’t want to go at loggerheads with the responsible authorities (Amazon tried that and it didn’t end up too well). Neither would you want to damage the trust customers have in your company. That, right there, would be the metaphorical final nail in the coffin of your brand.
5. Because Cyber Attack Attempts Are Shooting Through the Roof
Picture this: The year is 2050. The number of cyber-attack attempts made that year have hit 1 quintillion. In response, CIOs across all major companies have quickly convened for an emergency meeting. The issue in discussion? Attacks have become too many to grapple with, and if businesses don’t seal all the necessary data security loopholes, the situation will be uncontainable. Total mess. Chaos. World War 3 (but in the cyber world).
Rolling back to 2022, there’s still a chance to keep cyber-attack attempts at a manageable minimum. As we speak, cyber-attack attempts are yet to hit the 2 trillion mark every year. That means we still have a chance to close the cracks before we build a wall.
Remember, every time you ignore the intricacies of data security—both at rest and in transit—you invite a dozen more cyber-attack attempts. You might dodge the bullet so many times; but one day, just one day, it’ll catch up with you and inexorably hit you where it hurts the most—your hard-earned reputation. And as Benjamin Franklin once put it:
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.”
6. Because Data Security is the Future (and the Present)
There was a time when we would fantasize about next-level encryption technologies. We’d hope and pray that the gods of encryption be kind enough to deliver us from mediocre file encryption methodologies like Pigpen Cipher and Playfair Cipher. Today, the future that we so deeply craved is our everyday reality. My, how times have changed.
Encryptions technologies like SSH (for encrypting data in transit) and Open PGP (for encrypting data at rest) are now mainstays. And this new wave is only gaining momentum.
There’s no better way to protect data than encrypting it using one of the following technologies (ssh, MOVEit has got all of these in a single MFT solution):
- Open PGP: An encryption standard at its core, Open PGP uses asymmetric (public key) cryptography and addresses the issues of data authentication and non-repudiation through the ability to “sign” files via embedded digital signatures.
- SSL: The Superman of the data security world, SSL makes it possible to send encrypted file transfers over AS2, SFTP, and HTTPS protocols.
- FIPS 140-2: If SSL is Mr. Superman, FIPS 140-2 must be Spiderman—adept, agile, and effective in every situation. A FIPS 140-2 compliant cipher is exactly what you need to galvanize your data security strategy.
- AS2: The AS2 protocol is as important to HTTPS exchanges as sugar is to tea or laces are to shoes.
And the list goes on.
Data security is the future. And if there’s something everyone has learnt from the pandemic, it’s that the only future that matters is today. Grab your seat at the table, the soonest.
MOVEit Prioritizes Data Security (and You Should, Too)
Like twins from the same womb, or two fingers of the same hand, data in transit and data at rest deserve the same love, attention, and focus. None is superior to the other. Subsequently, they deserve a tool that loops them in a way that compliments your organization’s overarching data security goals.
That tool is none other than MOVEit (a round of applause, please).
A reliable, top-of-the-line managed file transfer solution by day and a proven client/server by night, MOVEit boasts a slew of advanced security features and proven encryption to ensure all of your files—whether at rest or in motion—remain secure through and through.
For protecting data at rest:
For protecting data in transit:
- File integrity
- SSH transfers
- SCP2 (Secure Copy)
- SSH listener
- Login authentication encryption
- Digital certificate management
- SMTP server authentication
Want to know how we can elevate your data security strategy using these powerful technologies? There’s only one way to find out. Schedule a free trial of MOVEit today!