The data at rest refers to the state in which sensitive information resides on a hard drive, cloud server or mobile device. Though often considered less vulnerable than data in transit, this isn’t always the case.
Effective data protection measures for data at rest are essential. They can help you reduce your risks, shielding you against fines and revenue loss.
Data is stored on a hard drive or other storage device
Computers typically feature several storage devices, such as a hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), that store data for later access. This includes any files and documents saved or created on your machine.
HDDs contain spinning disks called platters that are divided into sectors and thousands of subdivisions that can accept an electric charge. An actuator arm with a read/write head scans these platters to detect magnetic charges and convert them into bits – 1s and 0s in binary code.
RAM, unlike hard drives, is volatile; data on these devices remains until it’s either erased or the device fails. Mechanical issues may include crashes, drops or any kind of physical impact which damages the read/write heads on the platters of a hard drive.
Hard drives connect to computers via one of several bus types, including parallel ATA, Serial ATA and Small Computer System Interface (SCSI). Modern interfaces are digital and use a single data/control cable for all interface signals and drive control signals.
Data is stored in a database
Databases are collections of organized and structured data. They can be accessed and used by multiple users simultaneously, making them ideal for storing large amounts of information.
Databases enable the creation and use of queries, which are statements that enable retrieving specific pieces of data. The most popular type of database is relational databases, which store information in tables.
Tables contain columns which store information in a specific format, such as an integer, real number or character string. Furthermore, each table may have a primary key – an unique identifier for each row of data – to ensure consistency across rows.
Database information can be divided into smaller groups known as segments and organized in a hierarchical structure. This hierarchy indicates how each segment relates to another. Segments may be classified by root segment, dependent segment, parent segment and twin segment.
Data is stored in the cloud
Data at rest refers to information that is not frequently accessed or altered, such as files stored on hard drives and cloud servers.
The cloud is a type of computing where data and applications are hosted offsite and accessible through the internet. It has become an incredibly popular means for storing documents, pictures, and videos that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.
The cloud is an ideal storage option, but it must be secured against malicious attacks and access by those with valid credentials. Implementing strong password protection on all cloud accounts helps guarantee this protection is maintained.
Encryption at rest is an effective security measure that helps keep data in the cloud safe from malicious attackers and criminals. It also assists businesses in complying with industry and government regulations like HIPAA, PCI and FedRAMP.
Data is stored on a mobile device
What data is stored on a mobile device?
Any hand-held computer that can connect to the internet and run apps is considered a mobile device. Examples include smartphones, tablets, e-readers and PDAs.
Mobile devices often feature a touchscreen interface, digital or physical buttons and an on-screen keyboard. They may also come equipped with cameras, Bluetooth connectivity and cellular networks or near field communication (NFC) capabilities.
Organizations are increasingly focused on how to protect data at rest. Encryption is often necessary, and organizations also need tools that address other aspects of data security like identity management and role-based access controls. These measures are necessary in order to comply with laws such as HIPAA or GDPR which require the protection of sensitive information; MDM policies also benefit from these tools when implemented correctly.