How to Secure Data Across IT Estate
As we all know, the 21st century belongs to data, making, or breaking an organization. Improper use of data or a leak of data can significantly harm an organization. Before you collect and use the data, whether it's your employee data or customer data, make sure you collect only those which is required for your business and at the same time, don't forget to adhere regional, contractual, and regulatory compliances such as GDPR, CCPA, etc. as non-compliance may lead to serious consequences.
Let's shed some light on security controls that should be implemented across organizations.
Least privilege access: This control is paramount in protecting the data from unauthorized access. Specifically, the access to highly sensitive data such as PII, PHI, PCI, etc. must be based on least-privilege and need-to-know, which means you should have adequate security controls beginning from file-level encryption to application masking, tokenization, etc. to minimize the potential risk. This way, not only can you reduce the risk, but if in case your organization is breached, you can show authorities that you follow due diligence and due care within the organization and somewhat reduce the severe impact of regulatory fines & legal actions.
Security Control over Shadow IT - With the rise of cloud adoption, more and more organizations are migrating to public or private cloud platforms. This becomes scary if they go without a clear strategy on the usage of data within the cloud. Fundamentally, they must consider, at least, the following:
- Who has access to their data?
- What data do they have access to?
- How are the access controls managed and monitored?
This becomes more challenging as cloud providers have either limited or zero security around common threat vectors such as insider malicious, credential compromise & unauthorized usage. And the question arises how does an organization protect and remediate against the above-mentioned threat vectors. Essentially the solution should be you should have a middleware solution between your user and cloud applications over the internet, which can track, block, monitor, alert, remediate, etc. Various vendors offer better solutions around cloud web gateways, including data loss prevention and cloud access security brokers (CASB), which can track, monitor, and alert in real-time based on user behavior. Thus, providing contextual and situational awareness information about user activity reduces risk and meets regulatory & legal compliance requirements. This way, you can protect the data residing across disparate systems, applications, and clouds.
Centralized Security: It is quite ubiquitous that the insider malicious is the weakest element in the whole security chain. They might have access to some of the systems and resources they should not be. It becomes somewhat difficult to track if the user profiling is not done properly. So, user behavior is important, but the feeds from all the point solution should go to a security operation center to get the context of each incident and give them the proper response and resolution.
The aforementioned security controls, along with industry best security practices, you can not only outweigh the bad guys, but we can continue to secure your environment. These holistic data security controls can prevent serious data breaches and hopefully decrease the meantime to detect and respond to incidents and protect an organization's brand reputation.