Enterprise-grade Data Privacy: A Myth & Mystery or Possibility 

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We are in an era where online apps and services keep prying eyes on our digital activities and data associated with various platforms. Be it on a personal level or professional level for employees. Both cyber criminals and companies that run ads look for user data and track them for their more considerable gains. Hence, data privacy has become a concern for enterprises globally. Users generate, process, and store a vast amount of data every day. Therefore, ensuring data privacy and security with appropriate measures has become a regulatory essential from a fundamental business imperative. 

Enterprises should understand what Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is and how cybercriminals leverage these user data by breaching them for monetary benefit. There are various myths and mysteries related to data privacy that this article will burst. It will also talk about the various possible techniques & technologies enterprises can use to protect data from privacy theft and information misuse. 

Brief Note on "What is Data Privacy"

Since data has become the new oil, cybercriminals are constantly using different tools & techniques to extract sensitive user & corporate employees’ data. Data privacy is the act of conserving and protecting any individual’s personal credentials, information, and digital actions. It is a subcategory of data protection that involves the proper handling of sensitive user data, such as PIIs. It also deals with safeguarding confidential data, such as financial details, online transactions & activities, intellectual property rights (IPR) data, etc., to meet regulatory requirements. Data privacy helps protect the confidentiality, misuse, and immutability of data. 

Personal information revolving around data privacy could be name, location, IP address, MAC address, bank account number, PIN, passwords, contact details, various apps anyone is using, etc.  Enterprises that deal with millions, if not billions, of user data should consider data privacy a critical aspect in this era where digital breaches are prominent. Also, it is impossible to implement data privacy without proper data security.  

Enterprise-grade Data Breaches – Debunked

Data breaches are incidents and mishaps that cybercriminals perform by gaining access to unauthorized information, accessing sensitive data, or revealing confidential details to the public. According to Statista’s report, during the Q4 of 2023, data breaches exposed more than 8 million records globally. Since the first quarter of 2020, the maximum number of data records were exposed in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020, nearly 125 million data sets. Still today, millions of data are available on the dark web forums and bidding sites that are getting sold for millions. 

Data breaches at a corporate level often lead to the revealing or loss of personal information of individuals (employees & user data), such as login credentials, health records, financial details, intellectual property, online behavior, etc. Enterprise-level data breaches often have severe consequences like reputational damage, legal ramifications, and monetary losses, & can drag an enterprise to face lawsuits. Hence, to keep the data secure & private, enterprises should take proactive security measures. 

Data Privacy - Perceptions, Myths, and Reality

For many, there is a perception that data privacy is elusive & not possible at all from a user standpoint. Such a mindset gets its fuel because of the high-profile data breach incidents (Yahoo’s breach 2013-14 breaching 3 billion user accounts or Equifax 2017’s breach exposing 147 million people’s PII) and user data-driven scandals (Facebook & Cambridge Analytica). Several other secondary factors contributing to this myth are the evolving threat landscape, complex data ecosystem, fewer data policies, no or poor IT audit, etc. 

Let us now explore some of the data privacy myths revolving across the globe.

 

Encryption is the only solution

Many believe that encrypting data is the only solution. But this is a myth because enterprise-grade data privacy is not 100% possible with mere encryption. Yes, encryption is the minimum requirement that will help distort the original data into something unreadable. Furthermore, 2FA authentication, data governance & audit policies, constant malware checks, backing up data, etc., are also necessary.

 

Prevention and Mitigation Techniques

Data privacy is not a mystery. It is feasible to preserve data privacy to its full potential – if not 100%. Some may ask, “Why not 100%.” It is because complete anonymization might not be possible because of the vulnerability in the software, lack of system updates or patches, The USA PATRIOT Act on top of other cyber laws, extreme use of Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) by security agencies, flaws in anonymity or data masking algorithms, etc. But, these radical situations are not entirely in the hands of enterprises & individuals. 

However, there are several measures enterprises can take to mitigate data breaches and prevent individual data privacy. 

Here is a list of some notable techniques enterprises can use to reduce data breaches and attempts at digital privacy leakage. 

  1. Enterprises should implement strong encryption and hashing techniques on user data to protect data in transit & at rest. It is also important to note that the encryption techniques or third-party APIs used for hashing are not vulnerable. 
  2. Frequent and periodic patch update checks are also necessary to fix software, system, algorithm, and application vulnerabilities that can lead to massive data leakages. 
  3. Enterprises should also deliver applications offering multi-factor authentication, geo-location-based login attempt notifications, etc. Limiting the number of login attempts can also significantly reduce automated, bot, or script-based attacks on numerous accounts. 
  4. Another best practice to prevent user data privacy at an enterprise level is to employ intelligent firewalls, intrusion detection systems, AI-powered threat signature detection tools, and anti-malware services. These solutions and tools can help detect internal threats, malware-based attempts, and unauthorized access trials to enterprise servers. 
  5. Enterprise-grade security can become robust by utilizing zero-trust principles. Here, the enterprise can use a dynamic & resilient environment for login attempts. For every escalation & use of services within the system, the security systems ask for authentication after a random interval. Also, Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions help bolster data privacy by preventing attackers from gaining access. 
  6. Regular IT audits & penetration testing of customer-facing products that enterprises deliver are necessary to prevent data breaches. It can also help enterprises stick to regulatory compliance and prevent them from facing lawsuits. 

At an individual level, users should also take care of their data privacy by not using public Wi-Fi, saving passwords on web browsers, or using random network hardware (that might contain security flaws). Also, security services like the TOR browser, search engines like Start Page (that does not keep track of your online behavior), and secure email services like Proton Mail can benefit a lot from an individual standpoint. Furthermore, users should also know when to use Virtual Private Network (VPN) services and proxy servers to maintain anonymity & perform private browsing over the internet. 

Conclusion

We hope this article provided a crisp idea on enterprise-grade data privacy. We have also encountered various myths and false mysteries revolving around data privacy. Then, we saw some data breach incidents and when they occurred. Finally, we came across various prevention techniques from an enterprise level along with a user’s perspective. Enterprises should take proactive measures to prevent end-user data, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and other digital habits (if they track them) to prevent them from getting sold on the dark web. Thus, without preventive measures, enterprises can face reputational damage or regulatory issues in the long run. For more information, visit our digital insider page or contact us!

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