How Government Organizations Protect Citizens’ Information

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In the wake of privacy issues in the country, it’s no surprise that people are feeling distrustful of their government and corporations. One way that organizations have taken to try and regain this trust is by being more transparent about how they store, protect and share citizens’ information. Here are some of the ways they are working to protect your data from unauthorized access.

1. Encryption

Data encryption has always been a great way to protect information, and it’s become even more important after the NSA leaks. The government is doing its job by encrypting metadata and other information regarding citizens; however, there are many instances where it needs to be decrypted in order for it to be analyzed or utilized. The only problem with decrypting information is that it leaves a window for third parties to do the same.

2. Consolidation of Data

In order to keep track of billions of records, organizations often have to consolidate them in order for them to make sense and be useful. This means collecting private information from people in a single location in an effort to combine it with other data in order to make it work. Some organizations make use of SQL server management systems with encryption to keep data in a single location. This, of course, can create a bigger security risk because if someone can access one bit of information, they can access all of the others in the consolidated database. Other organizations have taken the opposite approach and have decentralized information in an effort to protect it from being compromised.

3. Safeguards for Communication

In order to protect citizens’ information, communication about it is also key. Therefore, organizations are putting more safeguards on their communications by using secure communication channels. These secure channels include things like SSL and TLS, which help encrypt data so it can’t be intercepted by third parties. Other organizations are using VPNs to encrypt traffic and ensure that information is protected as it moves from place to place on the internet.

4. Disposing of Data

Many organizations struggle with how to dispose of data when they are finished using it, but in order to protect their citizens’ data, they have to make sure that it can’t be accessed by unauthorized people. Typically, this means taking the extra step of shredding paper documents and wiping hard drives with software specifically designed for secure disposal. This ensures that even if someone gets their hands on the data, they can’t use it.

monitoring citizen's information security

5. Monitoring Data Access and Changes

Internal security is crucial to protect citizens’ information, and one of the ways organizations do this is by monitoring data access and changes made to files and folders. Software that keeps track of who has access to different files provides yet another level of protection for sensitive documents and other forms of data. Keeping employees honest by closely monitoring who they are sharing information with is just another way that organizations try to protect citizens’ data.

6. Encryption Key Sharing

For an organization to share encrypted data with another or store encrypted records in their databases, they have to share an encryption key. This makes data vulnerable because the key itself could be compromised or lost, which means that it can’t be accessed by those who are authorized to do so. But government organizations are working on a solution to this problem by implementing an automated key management system that will create and share encryption keys as needed. Since the key itself will never exist in an unencrypted state, data will remain secure even if someone does manage to gain unauthorized access.

7. Risk-Based Security Controls

There’s an increasing focus on risk management and security controls as opposed to compliance testing. Organizations are shifting away from checking off a list of requirements and more towards understanding the risks associated with their data and providing sufficient security controls to mitigate them. This ensures that they aren’t spending all of their time complying with regulations but rather working on preventing data loss and breaches.

8. Collaboration Between Organizations

Collaborating with other organizations is another way that governments are working to protect citizens’ information. This involves sharing information both up and downstream, which would help mitigate the risk of a single point of failure. In order to implement this type of information sharing, government organizations are working towards developing common information sharing standards that they can all adhere to.

Security has become a major focus for governments and corporations alike. People expect their data to be safe in the hands of the government but it is still important for these agencies to take extra steps when protecting citizens’ information in order to regain the trust of the people. By using encrypted communication channels, secure disposal methods, and other ways to protect citizens’ information, organizations are putting more safeguards in place.

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