Can you ever declare your data to be safe?  If you question the custodians of your data, they may ponder your question long and hard before they say non commit tally “As safe as it can be!” Why is that? Data that is stored in any kind of electronic media is vulnerable—be it on tapes in offline storage or on remote servers in geographically dispersed locations. We can only make it “as safe” as possible.

Electronic Law enforcements agencies round the world urge potential victims to guard themselves against cyber crime. Individual consumers and enterprises are often blamed for their own vulnerability. But, data vulnerability is as much a systemic problem as an individual one. Questioning the necessity of these systems challenges the concept of technological progress. It is best to face the reality, evaluate the risk and ensure that vulnerabilities are addressed, mitigated and even guarded against.

It is true that millions of data records are compromised by poor management of networks. Passwords are shared, access is never restricted and there is a general carelessness in data handling that is all pervasive in most enterprises. Data security must begin at home. Network managers and data storage managers must take user and access management seriously and users must be educated about data security. Audit trails must be put in place and users must be tracked through all activities on the network. High risk and mission critical data must be encrypted and access clearance must be given with discretion to users who can be trusted not to abuse their positions of trust.

While most data managers will be careless about data security within the enterprise, they become paranoid about data that they send to third party repositories over the Internet. So, it is not surprising that cloud computing services are obsessively concerned about data security. Most online backup companies market their services on data security platforms. They promise encryption at the point of transmission and storage.  They promise to guard against eavesdroppers, listeners and data hijackers on the network. They insist that they protect their customer data by replication and mirroring on to geographically dispersed servers that have failover provision. In short, they promise unprecedented data security and recovery to enterprises that are just beginning to understand the implications of data vulnerability and the need for data security!

So, is your data safe? It is as safe as it can be made to be. The responsibility is and will always be–ultimately yours. You need to examine every risk and nuance of risk and watch over your data like a mother hen with chicks.