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Securing Critical Backup Data: Important and Often Overlooked

December 14, 2015

One of the last things a company ever wants to experience is a data breach of its patient, customer or proprietary information. As marketers and brand ambassadors, we immediate think about the impact this will have on the organization; decrease in customer confidence and reputation, and the loss of data and intellectual property.

Organizations realize a data breach is a real concern that will most likely impact them at some point.  The steps in minimizing the impact of a security breach is a role commonly held by IT. However, today the role of technology is changing, and the shift of responsibility is moving to marketing. Gartner predicts that by 2017, marketers will control a larger portion of the technology spend than that of their IT colleagues.

Digital marketing, like the website and personalization, has contributed to the shift of responsibility.  With any online interaction, comes a concern for data security.  The best way to secure information on a website is through encryption.  To do this, you must understand where website data lives, and how it is managed.

There is plenty of information that discusses securing data that travels between computers using encryption protocols such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS), and is a subject familiar to most marketers. However, a subject less discussed is securing data when it is NOT traveling between computers—the data that rests within a database on a web server—and the backup of that data—which tends to be the most overlooked area of data security.  

More and more, the security of customer data is falling on the lap of marketing, and is an area marketing leaders will soon need to become experts on (or work with a company that has expertise).

Every organization has, or at least should have, a data backup process.  Do you know what yours is?  Depending on the size of your organization, there can be many copies of backup files, even daily copies.  If the database itself is encrypted then the encryption will carry over to the backup file.  However, it takes a sizable effort for a computer to continuously encrypt and decrypt data, which can slow down the website and negatively impact a user’s experience.  Therefore encryption is often limited to the most sensitive information such as credit card and/or social security numbers, leaving the remaining data unencrypted.

When it comes to the data backup, speed is not a concern because the information is stored.  Therefore, why not have a higher level of security with full encryption? Encrypting backup data is a viable option regardless of the size of your organizations, and is well worth the investment for small to mid-size companies with limited IT spend.  A little bit of legwork and a small investment can save you a ton of headaches.

What does it take to encrypt backup data? Take a look at the Imaginary Landscape technical blog post to understand the steps to Encrypting Backup Data.  Do you have questions about encryption or web development? contact Imaginary Landscape directly.

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