While many companies nowadays incorporate some level of data protection into their security strategies, it is often not enough to prevent data leakage or data breaches. It is vital for an organization to know and understand where and how its data is stored, moved, and utilized, in order to protect their data against intentional and unintentional breaches, as well as maximize the efficiency of business operations that require the use of said data. Many enterprises lack insight into the location and usage of their data, even sensitive and personal information that may affect employees and customers. Fortunately, it is never too late to step up security and prioritize data transparency.
Challenges of Data Loss Prevention
Understanding the state of data loss prevention requires a look into why DLP is so difficult for many businesses. Most, if not all, organizations would agree that data breaches or leaks are detrimental to business operations and not desired. However, many organizations see DLP solutions as unnecessarily onerous, delivering too many false positives, high cost at the outset, and taking up significant resources for maintenance. These are valid concerns based on real issues faced by many IT and security professionals.
There are a number of DLP software tools and solutions available on the market, each with its own features and abilities. What works for one organization may be functionally lacking for another, depending on the size of the company, the data being processed and analyzed, the resources available for security solutions, and many other variables. Having “protection against data leakage on various endpoints” is fairly essential for all security strategies, but additional features may be more or less useful for different companies.
Role of Cloud Data Storage
Cloud data storage and processing is a favored tool of many companies, especially large businesses with a great deal of data to store and analyze. The benefits of cloud computing and storage are fairly straightforward: it allows access to the data at any time and from any place, does not run the risk of filling up the storage on your devices, and does not require you to use or carry external storage hardware.
However, cloud storage also carries with it some unique vulnerabilities, as well as some old and well-known risks. Different providers of cloud storage and computing will have different levels of security and integrity, but the dangers are present in all. There is a risk of data corruption or data loss in any case, and the hard drive arrays and servers in use are susceptible to cyberattacks by bad actors just as your own devices are.
Importance of Data Transparency
Data opacity—a lack of visibility into the location, movement, and usage of data—is a major hindrance to an organization’s data security. Many companies lack data transparency due to the daunting prospect of “clearing the muddy waters of their data,” but the longer an organization goes without prioritizing data transparency, the more data builds up for it to reckon with. This means that companies have huge backlogs of data that they cannot effectively track.
Data transparency is essential for organizations, and provides a number of benefits. Employees need visibility into company data in order to effectively do their jobs with access to all of the information that they require. Data transparency is necessary for compliance with some regulations, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s Consumer privacy act. It also assures customers, shareholders, and marketers that the data they provide or utilize is accurate, trustworthy, and protected.
How to Keep Track of Data
There are a number of methods, practices, measures, and tools that an organization can implement in order to effectively keep track of its data and maintain visibility into its movement and location. Successful data management requires layered protection and ample documentation, for a start. It is recommended that companies build and use strong and standardized file naming conventions and formats, in order to make the data easily searchable and findable by current and future users.
Organizations should also consider what metadata is useful for their purposes, and log it accordingly. Data storage methods and locations should be decided with longevity and redundancy in mind—it is suggested that you keep multiple copies in multiple places. A commitment to fostering a data-driven and data-aware culture, ensuring that employees understand the importance of data transparency and that leaders prioritize data security in their decisions, is also a major step in protecting data.
Keeping an eye on your data is always the first step to preventing breaches and leaks. Without visibility into the storage, flow, and usage of data, it is impossible to protect it. It also makes business operations more complicated, less efficient, and less productive. In order to make the most of your data, you must know where it is and how to access it; otherwise, you run the risk of having vast amounts of data stored and processed by your organization without transparency or understanding. Data visibility should be a priority for businesses that store and process a significant amount of data for any reason.
PJ Bradley is a writer on a wide variety of topics, passionate about learning and helping people above all else. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, PJ enjoys using a lifelong desire to understand how things work to write about subjects that inspire interest. Most of PJ’s free time is spent reading and writing. PJ is also a regular writer at Bora.