Many discussions about data security overlook the importance of protecting data throughout its lifecycle and instead focus on infrastructure management. However, this approach is shortsighted and places your organization at a greater risk from threats. Instead, a data-centric approach to security can help your organization protect valuable data.
What does “data-centric” mean?
A data-centric approach to security protects data wherever it lives. Instead of focusing on where information is stored, files can be protected at the level of the data itself. This approach protects data as it moves through the entire data lifecycle instead of relying on application-level or network-level security tools.
With data-centric security, your data can be secured both on-site and remotely, the latter becoming more important as remote work becomes increasingly common across many industries.
Common data security problems
Data security measures that focus solely on hardware tools or software solutions leave gaps in security. These gaps represent a great deal of financial and reputational risk.
The key gaps commonly found in company data security plans include:
- Behavior. Employees within your organization may attempt to circumvent traditional security measures. Although data exfiltration may be malicious, in many cases your team may be attempting to find faster and more convenient ways to complete their work.
- Visibility. To protect sensitive data held by your organization, you must first identify sensitive data held by your organization. Dark data within your organization cannot be protected without first being classified.
- Control. Data that can’t be seen can’t be controlled. Without knowing what information you have, you can’t adequately protect it. Should this information include personally identifiable information (PII), you may be at significant risk for fines for regulatory noncompliance.
- Response. In a constantly changing digital environment, time delays are a hazard to your business. Whether it’s in the form of delayed security updates, poor adoption of security processes, or other setbacks, delayed response times leave your data vulnerable to both current and emerging security threats.
Key benefits of data-centric security
Organizations with the ability to secure data effectively will have an advantage over those that don’t. That’s why 71% of companies are prioritizing data-centric security. A data-centric security model offers a wealth of benefits to your organization.
1. Simplify and streamline operations
Data security tools should work for your team rather than against them. However, data security policies that focus on either hardware or limited software solutions unnecessarily hamstring otherwise effective teams. Your worst case scenario is a data breach caused by employees simply trying to do their job more efficiently. However, even in a best case scenario, you’re needlessly losing productivity.
Data-centric security can remove this barrier. By focusing on securing the data directly, your data can be protected at rest, in motion, or in use without significant obstacles commonly encountered when dealing with proprietary data models commonly used by traditional security approaches.
2. Scale business security more effectively
Along with streamlined operations, your business will be able to more effectively grow with traditional security barriers removed. Traditional security approaches require large-scale projects in the form of software updates, hardware upgrades, and similar security measures. While this can be manageable in a startup phase or even initial growth periods, these methods can quickly become untenable, leaving your security teams constantly playing catch-up.
Securing data where it lives effectively solves much of the problem. With a focus on data rather than hardware or software measures, you can control your data across 10 machines or 10,000 machines equally well no matter if they’re local or remote.
3.Improve regulatory compliance
Data privacy and compliance legislation is becoming increasingly common, and your organization needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changing laws. You need to be able to accurately and efficiently comply or risk significant penalties.
A data-centric approach to security can increase regulatory compliance when using context-rich classification that tags your data based on regulatory standards it may be subject to. This methodology allows for greater visibility into details like why data was collected, how it will be used and when it may be removed from your systems.
4. Develop a Zero Trust environment
A Zero Trust framework requires users’ identities to be verified every time they wish to access a set of sensitive data. From there, they are only given enough access to be able to complete a specific task or set of tasks. This process must take place each time the user attempts to access data, which is why this security framework is considered the “gold standard” for security.
Implementing a Zero Trust framework would be impractical or even impossible for organizations relying solely on traditional security measures. However, a data-centric approach to security is inherently compatible with a Zero Trust framework due to the granularity possible with this model.
Take a data-centric approach to security with Spirion’s Governance Suite
If you’re wondering how to take a data-centric approach to security within your organization, Spirion’s Governance Suite can maximize the effectiveness of your data security approach. The Governance Suite addresses all of the necessary pieces required in a data-centric security model.
- Data classification. Automated classification allows rapid and accurate tagging of data across all of your systems and your network.
- Access control. Consistent, customizable, and flexible classification that can accommodate changing business needs.
- Encryption. Find and secure data at its source with 98.5% accuracy across files shares, cloud repositories, and all endpoints.
- Remediation. Cleanse, organize, and destroy data as needed with leading data remediation tools.
- Monitoring. Get real-time insights on data to more accurately respond to threats or prevent them from happening altogether.