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Data security software restricts access to stored data and processes on a computer or server. These applications are designed to prevent data loss, corruption, or disclosure of sensitive information. There are many different types of data security software. Examples include disk encryption software; products for backups, data masking, and data erasure; applications for user authentication and digital signatures; and programs for secure file transfers such as FTP, email, and Internet transactions. Selecting data security software requires an analysis of system requirements, and is generally performed by information technology (IT) personnel with administrative privileges.

 

Disk Encryption Software

 

Disk encryption software is a type of data security software used to protect personal data and confidential information on computers and removable storage devices. Applications create encrypted virtual disks or virtual data storage devices that are password-protected. Data is encrypted before it is written to the disk or the device, and is decrypted after it is read. Some products use the cryptographic infrastructure of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. Both Windows XP and Vista feature advanced encryption standard (AES), a secure encryption algorithm with a key length of 128, 192, and 256 bits.

 

Data Security Software

 

Data security software for other operating systems may also use pre-installed cryptographic service providers. Data maskers and data erasers are common types of data security software. Data masking software hides confidential data by replacing it with realistic information. As a rule, data maskers preserve data relationships between rows in tables and even between columns in the same row. Data synchronization is achieved with configurable settings.

 

Data Erasure Software

 

Data erasure software and disk eraser software are designed to remove sensitive data from hard drives and removable storage devices such as magnetic tapes and ZIP drives. Some applications work by overwriting files with random binary digits. Others remove temporary Internet files, system files and application files. Related data security software includes data file cleaners and drive sanitizers.

 

Applications of Software

 

Data security software includes applications for user authentication and digital signatures; and programs for secure file transfers such as FTP, email, and Internet transactions. User authentication software is designed to verify a person’s identify based upon one or more ownership factors. Digital signatures are complex mathematical schemes that use a form of asymmetric cryptography to prove the authenticity of a digital message or document. Specialty data security software is also available.