What is Data at Rest?

Definition: Data at rest typically refers to data stored on a computer in any digital form (e.g. files, spreadsheets, database, cloud storage). It is electronic information that is not actively moving from device to device or network to network. It also refers to data that is not being accessed or used.


Data at Rest explained

Data at rest includes, but is not limited to, archived data, data which is not accessed or changed frequently, data stored on IoT devices, files stored on hard drives and in the cloud. While data at rest is sometimes thought to be less vulnerable than data in motion, attackers often regard data at rest as a more valuable target.

Data at rest is considered the easiest type to secure. However, it remains extremely vulnerable to malicious attacks. To prevent this data from being accessed, modified or stolen, organizations should employ security protection measures which could include a combination of password protection, data encryption and tokenization. For example: if the data is encrypted and the encryption keys have not been stolen, the information is useless to whomever got it. Without keys, the data can not be deciphered. That is why it is so important to secure data.

A data leak or a data breach can be costly. If an organization is the victim of a data breach, it may face financial and legal repercussions. They may also suffer reputational damage, resulting in a loss of customer confidence. Protecting sensitive data both in transit and at rest is imperative for modern enterprises as attackers find increasingly innovative ways to compromise systems and steal data.

Organizations should also be familiar with the security and data handling regulations of the country or countries where they store data physically. The General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, for example, affects organizations that store their data in the EU and organizations that store data on EU citizens outside of the EU.



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