At times of economic uncertainty, there’s a tendency for boards to hunker down and maintain business as usual. But the leaders of their respective industries often see it differently: as a period of opportunity. These organizations are also more likely to view data protection as a growth driver than something to maintain the status quo.
If organizations want to optimize their use of data protection technology, it must be seen as more than something to keep them compliant and resilient to cyber risk. It should be embraced as a genuine tool for growth and achievement.
A hierarchy of intent
Gartner’s hierarchy of intent model is a useful way to frame this discussion. At the bottom of the pyramid are those externally driven factors which amount to avoidance of risk. Arguably businesses with a low level of maturity when it comes to data protection are more likely to focus here. They want to make sure they’re not breaking any rules (compliance), and they want to avoid risk and damage (security). Data protection can, of course, help to deliver both.
But that’s only part of the value it can provide. For more digitally mature organizations, the focus becomes less “how we can avoid risk” and more “how we can make a difference.” This is about using data protection to support internally driven values and even ethics. When viewed proactively like this, it becomes a more dynamic driver of success.
From avoidance to achievement
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using data protection as a means to mitigate risk. Data is the lifeblood of any modern business but is created in such quantities that it can be difficult to keep track of. This, plus an expansive corporate attack surface created by major digital investments over recent years, puts data at a heightened risk of theft and extortion. Last year was a near record for publicly recorded data breaches in the US.
In this context, effective data protection is a must-have for any board to mitigate the risk of serious breaches and adhere to rigorous global compliance requirements. Fail to do so, and the organization could be exposed to:
- Major compliance fines
- Operational outages
- Lost productivity
- Breach fallout costs (eg, legal, notification, forensics and investigation etc)
- Reputational damage
However, avoidance of compliance and breach risk should be table stakes for boardrooms today. To truly differentiate, they should be leveraging data protection to achieve greater things, like enhancing customer trust and loyalty. In a world where loyalty is hard won but easily lost, this is no mean feat. A third (32%) of customers say they’d leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
Another way companies are using data protection in a more mature way is to support analytics. Increasingly, AI-powered data analytics are the key to competitive differentiation, providing organizations with the critical insight they need to make better business decisions. It could be a retailer using customer data to improve targeted advertising and marketing efforts. Or a bank using AI to pick out signs of fraud that human eyes might miss – automatically and continuously. None of these efforts would be possible if the data itself isn’t protected in a way that still supports utility.
comforte can get you there
The bottom line is that data protection has obvious value to businesses. But it can do more than reassure security and compliance officers that risk is being correctly managed.
This is where comforte can help. Our Data Security Platform provides continuous discovery and classification of data across the enterprise, even in often opaque cloud environments. And it offers a range of protection technologies, including tokenization, which means data can still be used by analytics and other teams without compromising on security.