According to a report by Cisco Systems, almost 6% of their employees admitted to transferring files between their work and personal computers while working remotely. From a data security perspective, this creates a huge opportunity for information compromise, which could put company data, large sums of money and even jobs at risk.
As businesses begin to recognize the critical role that data security plays in maintaining their reputation, job integrity and bottom line, they are developing practices and policies to ensure employees are aware of how best to secure sensitive information in an increasingly digital, and perilous, world.
Anyone interested in pursuing data security as a career — or expecting that securing data will be an important part of their job — should consider the impact that a well-crafted curriculum can provide as a means to success in this field. A Master of Science in Business Analytics is one advanced degree that recognizes the nuances and importance of data security.
Why Is Data Security Important?
While information has always been a valuable commodity, it has never been as available and prized as it is in business today. In the digital information age, that value continues to grow as companies expand and extend their global reach. Protecting proprietary information — including client communications, financial transactions, knowledge archives, infrastructure and databases — must be a top priority for companies and organizations. If they fail, and a data breach occurs, companies may lose customers and their clients’ trust. And without trust, they have no business.
Individuals and organizations rely on the companies they do business with to safeguard their sensitive personal data. If the trusted company fails at this task, the company will have more than just the legal fallout to contend with. According to UpGuard, in 2021, the combined cost of global data breaches — including customer repayments, auditing services, legal fees, and fines, among other costs — is forecast to reach approximately $6 trillion. Because failure to protect private information negatively impacts a business’s bottom line, companies employ skilled professionals to prevent or mitigate such occurrences.
Tips and Techniques for Securing Data
Fortunately, many strategies and techniques have been developed to curb bad data security practices. Companies that take into account the importance of data security when devising data protocols can take preventive measures that include training their employees to recognize and avoid security pitfalls.
Widely considered the most common cause of cybersecurity breaches, a phishing attack is a malicious, malware-containing email that can infiltrate computers or networks and return private information to the offender. Therefore, employees need to be cautious about opening and replying to email messages from unfamiliar sources and should learn how to recognize content that may be illegitimate.
Mobile Devices and Remote Work
As work environments become increasingly flexible and more employees work from afar, extra precautions must be taken to reinforce data security. Antivirus software should be installed on all devices, and laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices should never be left unattended in public where content could be read or stolen. This also applies to portable storage media, such as flash drives, smartphones or SD cards.
On the frontier of data security importance and protection is cloud computing, a type of digital application that allows for safe and easy storage of large amounts of sensitive information. Most incidents of cloud security breaches are attributed to the end user rather than the software itself, so all employees who store data in the cloud should be trained to access and navigate it safely.
What Happens if Data Is Compromised?
Compromised data can lead to many problems for a business or organization. Beyond the financial consequences, a breach could lead to a loss of jobs (including among C-level employees) and a tarnished reputation for the company.
There are two ways in which job losses might follow a data breach. If the loss is significant and impacts profits, the company may seek to reduce its workforce by laying off employees to save money. In such cases, employees further down the ladder often are the ones who suffer as a result of a data breach.
In high-profile cases, however, top executives may bear the responsibility for the breach, especially if information security was under their direct purview. In such cases, the failure to secure data may result in a chief information officer or chief security officer, among other professionals, stepping down from their position.
If a data breach occurs or sensitive information is mishandled, it can erode any goodwill a company has earned from clients or customers. The lasting effects can devastate large companies and destroy smaller ones, as they struggle to regain the trust that kept them in business. Even greater reputational damage may occur if it’s found that the affected parties tried to hide the breach, demonstrating not only a lapse in security but an unwillingness to shoulder responsibility for it.
An Empowering Career Path
For students who aspire to join the rapidly expanding field of data security, the benefit of an advanced degree cannot be understated. As you enter this dynamic and competitive job market ripe with opportunity, the confidence of being well-prepared should be a major priority.
With the University of Nevada, Reno’s Master of Science in Business Analytics, you’ll have access to a program designed for maximum effectiveness. Featuring courses such as Applied Data Science, Big Data, and Predictive Modeling and Data Mining, the curriculum for the Master of Science in Business Analytics program provides students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to thrive in the field.
The importance of data security in the digital economy will continue to grow as businesses advance and become more global. Now is your chance to prepare for the future and create value in the data security industry. Explore the advantages of this curriculum and how it can arm students with a competitive advantage on the path to a fulfilling career.