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What Is The Primary Objective Of Data Security Controls?

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Data security controls are mainly designed to prevent and counteract any form of malware that enters our system. Not only this, but it can also alert you against potential breaches so that you can save yourself while there’s still some time left.

Such technology often comes with a complex framework and an array of protection mechanisms that are hard to break through. To implement this, adhere to compliance guidelines and foster a security-first approach, we first need to understand the primary objective of data security tools.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Primary Objective of Data Security Controls

If you’re reading this article, you’re aware of the significance of data security. You likely already carry the responsibility for securing your organization. If you need to convince others of the importance of security, send them to read the latest Microsoft Digital Defense Report.

The primary objective of data security controls is to identify potential cyber threats in advance and then implement remedial actions to prevent a breach.

Here are the key areas where data security controls are utilized:

Keeping Unauthorized People at Bay

A malevolent outsider might get his hands on sensitive data if any of your passwords appear in a data leak. Another danger could be company employees who already have access to sensitive data. For example: If you share a file within your organizational desktops and they download/copy it to their personal laptop, your file may be shared without your consent.

In such a scenario, having a two-factor authentication setup might safeguard your personal files. All in all, avoiding data breaches caused by hackers from within or outside the company is a top priority.

Safeguarding your Privacy

You can limit access to certain data when it comes to customers, workers, and new trainees.

Most companies use a VPN service to avoid trackers. Furthermore, you can set up firewalls, and a risk-based cybersecurity plan, and set risk tolerance easily.

VPN Privacy
VPN Privacy

Another step here would be to constantly monitor your internal control framework because hackers are constantly looking for ways to access private systems.

Notifying Users About Suspicious Activity

Data security controls can be synchronized across all your devices followed by notifying you whenever someone sends an access request or inputs wrong credentials repeatedly. Detecting suspicious activity and looking out for anomalies and aberrant behavior is key to measuring cybersecurity risk assessment.

Conducting an Audit

When conducting an audit, it is necessary to keep a track of who accessed what data and when. Audits are mainly used for compliance and help you get a third-party review of your security infrastructure. Both third-party and internal reviews increase the confidence of trustee groups in your company.

Types of Data Security Controls

Now that you know the significance of data security controls and how they can potentially be used as a countermeasure against hacks and unknown access attempts, let us delve a little deeper into the types of data security controls to understand software and networks better.

Operational Security Controls

Operational security controls (OPSEC) help people handle operations, limit network access and automate manual tasks to reduce the possibility of human error. This is critical to the success of your risk management program. Common tasks under OPSEC include:

  • Restricting network access.
  • Enforcing a disaster recovery plan.
  • Assigning tasks to various employees.
  • Applying automation to mundane tasks.

Administrative Controls

Also called procedural controls, this type of data security control deals with day-to-day operations and is derived using the standards set by upper management. Common examples include:

  • Vendor risk management schemes.
  • Continuity policies.
  • Disaster recovery policies.

Preventative Controls

These controls are set up to prevent any kind of data loss by using methods such as two-factor authentication and cloud-based backups. This also lets the administrator know about any individual that is using the data. Some of the preventive control measures are:

  • Identity management software and facial recognition software.
  • Monitoring cloud platforms.
  • Two-factor authentication.
  • Privilege access management.

Architectural Controls

These controls provide a standardized plan for identifying, documenting, and mitigating threats to an organization’s whole IT infrastructure. This helps a company build a unified approach that deals with any kind of cyber threat. Good examples of this kind of practice include:

  • Continuous monitoring frameworks.
  • Evaluating internal records.
  • Reviewing current IT systems.

Technical Security Controls

The technical support group focuses on hardware as well as software. These measures are used to restrict user activity for the most part. Furthermore, this also helps admins regulate the use and access of systems across the company without having to individually check every system.

Some good examples of this practice include:

  • Data encryption.
  • Self-audit platforms that guarantee file integrity.
  • Network authentications.

Detective Controls

Sometimes, small bits of information might get lost or deleted by a system without the owner knowing about it. Thus, having detective controls becomes highly imperative as it warns users of upcoming risks and detects unusual activity.

Detective Controls
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The common examples of detective controls are:

  • Internal audits.
  • Monitoring frameworks.
  • Reviewing usage logs.

Corrective Controls

If all goes south and the system fails to alert you, corrective controls can be used as a last resort to fix any issues that might be harming the system. Some good corrective practices are:

  • Implementing a contingency plan in an event of an emergency.
  • Enforcing rules and policies.

Compensatory Controls

In the event of a security breach, quick implementation of short-term solutions becomes necessary to offset potential data loss. Compensatory controls ensure that all the operations are running smoothly if you are occupied with patching other security holes.

These direct controls must be commensurate with the danger they pose since this is only a temporary solution for businesses looking to safeguard their networks, i.e; they cannot be left in place permanently.


The way you keep up with a data security plan depends on the software that you are using. Open platforms such as a simple spreadsheet are much more vulnerable to change as opposed to an internal dashboard which comes with a continuous user log and several layers of password protection.

An ideal internal controls program should be equipped with all data security controls along with following a risk-based approach.

Our world is increasingly digital and increasingly interconnected. So, while we must protect our data, it’s going to take all of us to really protect the systems that we rely on.

A good way to go about this would be: Risk identification > Assessment > Tolerance > Implementing changes > Internal audits > Continuous monitoring.

> Check how to become a Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect and start putting these data security controls in place.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect with 21+ years of IT experience. As a Swiss Certified Information Security Manager (ISM), CCSP, CISM, Microsoft MVP, and MCT, he excels in optimizing mission-critical enterprise systems. His extensive practical knowledge spans complex system design, network architecture, business continuity, and cloud security, establishing him as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in the field. Charbel frequently writes about Cloud, Cybersecurity, and IT Certifications.

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