In the modern world, data is king. This is the information age and the governments and private businesses with access to the most accurate and up to date data have a distinct advantage. Data is also one of the most precious resources in the world today, and as with any precious item, protecting it should be given the highest priority. Data security is particularly important because data breaches and cyber crime is on the rise. Whether it a government agency or a business proper data security is vital.

Data security is critical. Sensitive private information form some of the most important data sets. For government agencies, this includes all types of classified information, some of it related to national security. For businesses protecting your customers names, addresses and social security numbers, financial information and account information is of vital importance. No matter the entity, failing to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands can have serious repercussions. It can lead to financial ruin or even cost people their lives.

The data collected by governments and businesses is not only in dangerous of falling into the wrong hands, it can be near impossible to replace if lost. In that regard, it’s very important to have systems in place to protect vital data in case of flood, fire or other natural disasters or manmade disasters like malware infections. If governmental and business entities do not have backup systems or data storage methods that are not susceptible to these challenges, they are being negligent. Losing precious data to acts of nature or man can set an entity back years and violate the trust of its partners and customers.

If you have precious data it, is essential to do a thorough risk assessment of the system in which your data is stored. This will help you to sure up areas where you data storage system may be deficient and help you to craft a strategy for better protecting your information and retrieving any data that may get lost due to acts of nature, accidents, system crashes or malicious activity. Your risk assessment activity should also consider threats like power outages, potential for theft, input and processing errors, accidental disposal and corporate or government sponsored espionage.

Part of making data security a priority is identifying areas of vulnerability then developing effective strategies to secure the data. Unless there’s control of access to important data, ways in which people can gain access to it, staff training in maintaining data security and adequate firewalls and anti-malware software are in place, your data will be vulnerable and your governmental or private agency will be at risk of being compromised. Without a combination of a properly trained staff, the right technical measures and physical security, your data can be compromised to your organizations detriment.

Efficient data security requires many actions. While it may be time consuming, it’s necessary. Failure to make the appropriate commitment to data security can cost governments and private business money and impact people’s safety.