How to Ensure Data-Centric Cybersecurity?
In the current cybersecurity landscape, the threats facing enterprises have evolved; and now highlight a growing level of sophistication in the methods employed by cybercriminals- as is often made evident by the prevalence and serious nature of the data breaches launched by hackers.
Needless to say, when we take into account hacks such as the New Orleans ransomware attack, the gravity of the situation comes into focus, with the threats facing organizations becoming more imminent and graver than ever.
Having said that, however- not all hope is lost. Given how quickly the interest of organization heads spiked up once they heard about the devastating financial consequences that a single cyberattack could have- enterprises need to amp up their current cybersecurity practices with the same level of interest.
Unfortunately, however, most companies tend to jump in on the bandwagon of whatever seems to be trending in the cybersecurity world and ignore the individual requirements of their organizations, which often results in the implementation of a broken security infrastructure. Instead of blindly following the herd, enterprises need to adopt cybersecurity from a data-driven approach, which offers numerous advantages.
Before we can get into some of the ways through which enterprises can exercise data-centric security, let’s have a look at what the term “data-centric cybersecurity” implies.
What Is Meant By “Data-Centric Cybersecurity?
If you didn’t know already, the most sought after resource in the digital age is no longer oil, but data. Although it might seem hyperbolic, in certain instances, it is perfectly apt to refer to data as the currency of the information age.
Having said that, the larger picture of the cybersecurity landscape becomes painfully clear. In simpler words, the protection of an organization’s data is the protection of the company itself. Taking into consideration the fact that most enterprises rely on the retrieval and collection of sensitive consumer data for the proper functioning of their organization- securing data has long since transcended the realms of being labeled as another “IT expense,” and is now considered to be a major aspect of propagating cybersecurity within organizations.
Today, most of the cybersecurity infrastructure in place ensures that data is stored in a physical location, which is usually a computer or a server. Although most companies opt for data being stored on remote locations away from the actual organization- there is an easily exploitable loophole present within this arrangement. If the data were to be moved somewhere else, organizations would need to look for other security alternatives- all the while the data remains unprotected and vulnerable to a range of cyberattacks and breaches.
Regardless of what the name implies, however, data-centric cybersecurity is a tad bit different than the preconceived notion that we have in mind. Instead of securing all the data that an organization holds (which is usually massive in size), data-centric security focuses on those files that carry confidential information and focuses on the data itself, rather than the physical location of where the data is stored.
Having said that, taking this approach to data-centric cybersecurity, prioritizes the security of the actual information over the location where the data is stored and enables companies to exercise cybersecurity, on the data where it matters the most.
How Can Organizations Exercise Data-Centric Cybersecurity?
When it comes to the implementation of any cybersecurity practice within an organization, whether it be a conventional security practice or a modern approach- businesses need to realize the importance of catering to the specific needs of their security infrastructure and prioritize it above everything else.
When it comes to permeating the walls of cybercrimes, perhaps the most important step that organizations can take is to ensure security is to take into account the uniqueness of their objectives, and then opt for cybersecurity measures that seem to be working for everyone, such as a data-driven approach to cybersecurity.
Some ways in which organizations can propagate the spirit of data-centric security within their security infrastructure consists of the following:
One of the most fundamental steps that organizations can take in laying down the base work for data-driven cybersecurity practices is to have an apt management system in place.
We recommend relying on a central management system that focuses on all aspects of managing a business’s data, particularly ensuring that the data adheres to the company’s security protocol and policy, which offers the following additional benefits to the enterprise:
- The business has complete control over their data, which includes sensitive information about the content of the database, including specifics such as timestamps and the list of authenticated users.
- Speaking of authorized users, a centralized management system enables organizations to speed up the tedious task of identity verification, and grants or revokes access to sensitive data immediately.
- A central management system is also responsible for closely surveilling the flow of data, along with allotting an adequate amount of resources to parts of the cybersecurity infrastructure that need it the most.
With the central management system in place, organizations can ensure that the data that they hold is free from any sort of manipulation, or tampering- since the management system ensures that fraudulent identities are prevented access to the data, hence ensuring a data-centric security level.
#2: Covering All Bases:
Another crucial element in ensuring a data-driven approach to cybersecurity is covering all the bases with effective security solutions.
It should be mentioned, however, that by effective cybersecurity, we refer to the more modern approaches to cybersecurity, rather than the conventional ones, since they leave a lot to be desired.
Instead of relying on the traditional approaches to ensure security within an enterprise, organizations need to perform data encryption both outside the company network and inside the company server and platform to ensure an all-encompassing approach to cybersecurity.
By bridging the gap between traditional and modern approaches to cybersecurity, data-driven security enables organizations to attain the best of both worlds.
#3- Automating Processes:
Automation is currently all the rage within cybersecurity circles- and justifiably so. Taking into consideration the fact that employees are the ones with the most prevalent access to sensitive data, organizations need to eliminate the chances of employee error by automating certain processes.
Automating operations offers the following benefits to organizations in the implementation of data-driven cybersecurity:
- Minimizes the risk of employee errors, which could result in devastating consequences.
- Ensures that the data storage complies with the set protocols and policies.
- It provides protection against data breaches.
#4- Training Employees:
Although this step might seem obvious to some readers, the fact remains the same- in most cybersecurity incidents, humans are the weakest link, which is why it is critical that employees know how to properly respond to breaches.
In addition to giving rise to easily exploitable security infrastructure, a poorly trained employee is a constant risk to the integrity of the data being stored, since, as we’ve already mentioned above, employees have the most interaction with the data stored on-premise.
Taking all of this into account, the need for proper employee training becomes obvious- so that employees know exactly what to expect with reference to the handling of confidential data. Another important part of this step includes the usage of certain security maintenance products that informs about any upcoming threats or danger. Employees must have knowledge about anti-virus products and their importance in a cybersecurity culture. Read here more about the best antivirus software and use them in daily routine.
At the end of the article, we’d like to make one thing clear to our readers. One of the key characteristics of the cybersecurity landscape is that it is consistently evolving, and so is the threat landscape.
Taking the transitioning nature of both these landscapes into account, organizations need to have the ability to adapt and change in the face of such digital adversity.
Rebecca James: Enthusiastic Cybersecurity Journalist, A creative team leader, editor of PrivacyCrypts. Follow her on twitter.