Sensitive data, both personal and corporate, is more vulnerable today than ever before. Pick up any recent newspaper, and odds are that some sort of data breach or vulnerability has occurred. Social Security and credit card numbers, corporate trade secrets, financial news – any data that is stored, used and transmitted online and through connected devices can be exploited and monetized by a skilled and motivated hacker. But these threats aren’t just external. The threat of a disgruntled or even rushed employee is as real as the threat from outside attackers, especially if the proper tools and safeguards aren’t in place to prevent the accidental (or intentional) release of sensitive data. And if that’s not an indication of why security and data protection have become mission critical, PWC reports that 91% of organizations have adopted some sort of security framework. Data can be attacked when in three states – at rest, in use and in motion – and the costs and complexities of securing the data varies between these states. At Rest Firewalls and antivirus solutions can be used as perimeter defense mechanisms, but unfortunately these barriers are not impenetrable. That’s why organizations will need to implement additional layers of defense, like encryption, to protect sensitive data in the event that the network is compromised. Encryption is the front-line defense for data at rest – it limits access to only those with the right keys, locking out anyone who doesn’t have them (aka the hackers). In Use Data in use is more vulnerable simply by definition – it must be accessible to those who need it. And the more people and devices that need access to the data, the greater the risk that it can fall into the wrong hands. The key is controlling access to the data as tightly as possible. This is where a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) security comes in handy. If employees are out on-the-go and need access to corporate data, look for a solution that keeps sensitive data off the device. In the event an employee’s device is ever lost or stolen, an administrator can simply disable access to the device. Because the data doesn’t actually reside on the device, it doesn’t hold the risk of falling into the wrong hands. In Motion Data in motion is perhaps its most vulnerable state. In this digital age, data in motion often means the digital transmission through email. With over 100 billion emails sent and received each day, that’s a lot of data to protect. When an email is sent, it often travels a long journey through electronic infrastructures before it actually reaches the intended recipient. As we’ve previously demonstrated, any motivated hacker with the right tools can tap in to that infrastructure and intercept your email. The best way to ensure your email and its attachments remain confidential is to utilize email encryption. The best email encryption solution will automatically encrypt email on its way out and decrypt email for the recipient. In the event that it is intercepted along the way, it’s unreadable. There is a long (and growing) list of organizations that have learned the tragic lesson of what happens when data is left vulnerable and unprotected. This year, make sure your organization isn’t one of them.