It’s hard to think of a business today that isn’t data driven. Whether selling it to third parties or leveraging insight internally, monetizing that data one way or another is the primary impulse of most boards. But there’s a catch. As data insight becomes a differentiator for enterprises, it has also emerged as a potential business risk. If not properly protected, it could be stolen, accidentally leaked or even tampered with.
Organizations must therefore prioritize efforts to secure their most critical business assets. The good news is that they can do so without impacting its utility.
Why data means business
In the previous part of this mini-series of blog posts, we explained how and why global organizations are looking to unlock insight from corporate data via a variety of monetization strategies. These range from lowering costs through optimized operations to creating new products and revenue streams from market intelligence. Each delivers a competitive advantage, whether it’s innovative customer-facing services, cost reduction, insight which can be sold to third parties, or even improved employee retention experiences and retention.
The leading pack is already pulling away. One analyst report reveals that organizations with advanced “insight-driven business” capabilities are eight times more likely to say they grew by 20% more than “beginner” firms. Yet the same report says leaders are also “consistently undergirding data initiatives with good governance.” This is critically important, as it means they put in place effective policies and processes to ensure data is collected, stored, processed and ultimately disposed of in a secure manner.
Why security matters
There are many ways enterprise data could be at risk of compromise. They include:
- Malicious third parties looking for customer data to sell on the dark web
- State actors or rival companies hoping to tamper with analytics data to disrupt operations/monetization
- Accidental exposure or theft from a third-party supplier
- Employee negligence leading to data exposure
Any or all of these risks could lead to:
- Major data breach costs (including third-party forensics, legal costs, notification costs etc)
- Reputational damage and customer churn stemming from a serious breach
- Compliance risks including fines, more bad publicity and potentially even criminal liability for executives
- Disruption to data monetization projects, possibly permanently
Getting started with data-centric security
The bad news is that there are plenty of opportunities for malicious or negligent actors to make an impact. Modern data environments are chaotic and distributed. Often organizations don’t know where their most sensitive data is located, how risky it is, who has access to it, or where it flows in the enterprise. These are all vital areas to gain visibility into – and not just once but continuously, because corporate data is being created and destroyed every single day. If you can’t see it, you can’t protect it.
However, on a more positive note, mapping and protecting this data doesn’t need to be as challenging as it sounds. Products like comforte’s Data Security Platform offer:
- Strong data protection for the data, in line with industry standards
- The ability to use the data for analytics while it is protected (eg via format-preserving encryption or tokenization)
- Automatic and continuous discovery, classification and protection across the entire corporate environment, including cloud systems
- Protection throughout the entire data lifecycle and at rest, in motion and in use
- Simple integration with business apps and data flows