Managing the Data Security Risks of Data Sharing

Managing the Data Security Risks of Data Sharing

Data security and sharing are two critical aspects of modern business that have grown in importance with the rise of the digital age. Be it customer information, intellectual property (IP), or business strategies, data is the lifeblood of modern commerce. However, the act of sharing data, particularly sensitive data, is not without its risks. If mishandled or improperly protected, this information can be misused or compromised, leading to potential financial and reputational damage. In this article, we explore how techniques such as data masking and encryption can be pivotal in mitigating risks and ensuring the secure exchange of information.

Data Sharing is Essential for Modern Businesses

According to a study from Gartner, companies that engage in external data sharing typically produce a financial advantage that is threefold compared to businesses that do not. Businesses often have vendors, partners, and other external entities needing access to IP and sensitive data. This data is often shared to streamline business processes, foster innovation, and build stronger stakeholder relationships. For instance, sharing customer data with a marketing agency can help create targeted advertising campaigns, while sharing technical specifications with a manufacturer can accelerate production.

However, the very act of sharing data makes it vulnerable to various risks. This data is at risk of misuse or compromise if improperly protected. Unauthorized access, data leakage, and cyberattacks are some potential threats businesses face when sharing data. Even the simple act of transferring data from one device to another can expose it to risk if not done securely. This is why data security needs to be a top priority for all businesses that share data.

Securing Shared IP

Fortunately, there are various techniques that can help businesses protect the data they share. One such technique is data masking, which involves replacing sensitive data with fictitious but structurally similar data. This helps maintain the data’s usefulness for testing and development purposes while ensuring that the actual data remains secure.

Another essential technique is encryption, which involves converting data into a coded form that can only be deciphered with the correct decryption key. This ensures that even if the data is intercepted during transmission, unauthorized individuals cannot understand it.

Moreover, businesses can also use access control measures to ensure that only authorized individuals can access the shared data. This includes things such as password protection, two-factor authentication, and role-based access control.

Sharing Data Securely at Scale

Often, companies need to share large volumes of sensitive data. In such cases, a data protection platform can be invaluable. These platforms can help to identify and protect sensitive data, monitor data access and usage, and detect and respond to security threats in real-time.

For instance, a data protection platform can use machine learning algorithms to identify sensitive data based on patterns and characteristics. It can then apply appropriate protection measures, such as encryption or masking, to ensure the data remains secure. Moreover, the platform can also monitor data access and usage to identify any unusual or suspicious activity.

Here are eight other tips and techniques to use to share data safely:

  1. Use Secure File Transfer Protocols: Secure file transfer protocols, such as SFTP, provide an encrypted channel for data transmission, thereby preventing unauthorized access and interception. This method can ensure data integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity in transit, making it a reliable choice for businesses dealing with sensitive information.
  2. Implement a Data Classification System: This system can help you identify and protect sensitive data by categorizing it based on its sensitivity level. It promotes a more organized and efficient way to manage and secure data, reducing the risk of data breaches and non-compliance issues.
  3. Train Employees on Data Security Best Practices: Regular training can equip employees with the knowledge and skills to handle data securely. By fostering a culture of data security, businesses can minimize human errors that often lead to data leaks and breaches.
  4. Use a Trusted Data Protection Platform: These platforms can provide a comprehensive solution for identifying, protecting, and monitoring sensitive data. By incorporating advanced detection techniques, these platforms can help businesses preemptively identify and mitigate potential threats to their data.
  5. Regularly Update and Patch Systems: Keeping systems updated and patched can help protect against new security vulnerabilities. Regular updates improve functionality and enhance security by fixing bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit.
  6. Implement Access Control Measures: Access control measures can ensure that only authorized individuals can access shared data. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches, thereby enhancing data security and privacy.
  7. Use Data Masking Techniques: Data masking can protect sensitive data by replacing it with fictitious but structurally similar data. This technique is instrumental in non-production environments where data is used for testing or development.
  8. Encrypt Sensitive Data: Encryption can protect data by converting it into a coded form that can only be deciphered with the correct key. Encrypted data would remain unreadable and useless to unauthorized individuals in a data breach.

As businesses continue to share more and more data, the importance of data security will only increase. In response, we can expect to see new technologies and techniques being developed to protect shared data. These may include things such as quantum encryption, which uses the principles of quantum mechanics to create unbreakable encryption keys, and homomorphic encryption, which allows computations to be performed on encrypted data without decrypting it.

Moreover, we can also expect to see data security becoming more integrated into business processes and strategies. Businesses may need to adopt a data-centric security approach, where security measures are built into the data rather than just the systems that store and process it.

In summary, while data sharing is essential for modern businesses, it also brings various security risks. However, by using the proper techniques and tools and adopting a proactive and data-centric approach to security, companies can minimize these risks and ensure their shared data remains secure. After all, in the age of data sharing, data security is not just a necessity, it’s a business imperative.


I'm a technology content writer with a solid track record, boasting over five years of experience in the dynamic field of content marketing. Over the course of my career, I've collaborated with a diverse array of companies, producing a wide spectrum of articles that span industries, ranging from news pieces to technical deep dives.