Living in a digital era means our sensitive data is under an ever-increasing threat of being leaked and used maliciously. Various companies constantly collect confidential information from employees, stakeholders, customers, prospects, etc. Security experts must categorize this data according to the risk and ensure that it is safeguarded with the right security technologies and techniques. This applies to both sensitive data and personally identifiable information.
Protecting consumer data privacy and customer preferences is one of the biggest challenges facing data professionals today. Credit card numbers, personally identifiable information (PII) such as a home address or a date of birth, Social Security Numbers (SSNs), protected health information (PHI), and information from medical records that could be used to identify an individual are examples of common sensitive data categories.
A data breach may impact a company’s board of directors, IT operations, and the red and blue teams. How do businesses identify sensitive data at scale and guard against unintentional disclosure?
This blog will examine six of the most significant threats to sensitive data protection and possible solutions. Our objective with this blog is to acquaint you with what could cause a data breach and potentially cost you millions of dollars in repairs and your credibility as an organization.
Let’s get started!
Four Challenges of Protecting Sensitive Data
- Data growth is off the charts!
There are 1.7 megabytes of new data created every second. Organizations must continue to secure sensitive personal information and their customer’s sensitive personal information. Over the past ten years, data has increased rapidly, but shoddy security procedures still put firms in danger of a data breach. PII, or personally identifiable information, is one of the main issues with data privacy. The number and accuracy of data in our technologically advanced society make it difficult to manage millions, if not billions, of data records.
Data professionals also need to grow increasingly aware of where sensitive data in the organization is being stored—one may be surprised to find data in unexpected and unpleasant places. A rigorous data discovery procedure is the only way to guarantee that your sensitive data is stored appropriately. Data scans will find those unexpected storage sites; however, handling them manually isn’t easy.
- Data Classification
Once the data has been retrieved, it must be given value as a foundation for administration. To accurately analyze the risks, the data classification process includes identifying the sensitivity and business effect of the data. It will be simpler to maintain sensitive data in a way that prevents loss or theft.
You can classify data as:
- Public: that is, fully available for mass consumption;
- General: that is, not available for public access;
- Confidential: that is, data that can harm your company, is breached;
- Non-business: that is, personal information not under your company’s purview
One significant problem is identifying large amounts of data and enforcing a procedure whereby employees manually label documents as sensitive. One approach to overcoming these data difficulties is using security tools that automatically mark sensitive data across a business.
- Threats from Inside the Organization
A small number of those working to defend systems against hacking, breaches, and poor data stewardship techniques are either currently bad actors or, given the appropriate circumstances, may turn into bad actors.
Additionally, with insiders and outsiders interacting more than ever, HR and legal must be involved to understand better the dangers posed by workers and other individuals who could have access to data, such as third-party contractors. Most businesses terminate access credentials upon termination, but doing so successfully necessitates near-real-time coordination. An angry employee who leaves the building with access rights still active can quickly get into a lot of trouble.
Rules, roles, and obligations must be clearly defined and upheld. It’s crucial to convey the idea that mischief will be punished as much as that good behavior will be rewarded.
- Growing Regulatory Requirements:
The segmentation of the pre-existing compliance requirements and the introduction of new versions create more trouble than ease.
One example is the EU Court of Justice rejecting earlier regulatory decisions that had permitted the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework to be employed instead of the more comprehensive data privacy protections necessary in the EU. This case is commonly referred to as Schrems and occurred in the summer of 2020. Due to the legal definitions of these rights and the rumored quasi-legal access to data by the US government, they are burdensome and challenging for US-based enterprises to comply with.
Many businesses in America that wanted to incorporate into the EU have been left trying to find a suitable replacement after the move, which necessitates an expensive and time-consuming case-by-case analysis of the data being handled and the suitability of the security provided on the American side.
The EU’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which now more closely match its European origin, thanks to the newly passed California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA), pose additional obstacles to processing data in different country’s highly cumbersome. CPRA was approved by voters through a ballot initiative at the same time that CCPA took effect. The new rules will go into force on January 1, 2023.
- Advances in Technology such as Mobile and IoT
IoT is undoubtedly an issue causing security experts to worry about data breaches. Per recent research, information security experts are more worried about IoT than network security.
Despite the fact that IoT vendors don’t regularly deploy security vulnerability patches for linked devices, the number of devices sold is increasing at an uncontrollable rate.
Security experts must review BYOD rules in light of IoT, create an IoT readiness plan, and scan the network to find any devices linked to it. Finding malicious activity on your web, in your apps, and your data requires constant network monitoring using IDS/IPS, SIEM technologies, and other advanced security analytics.
- Human Error Makes Security Difficult!
A typical human mistake can significantly impact the privacy and security of your data. According to many security professionals, human error poses the biggest threat to data privacy and security. Employees who lack knowledge or awareness may use weak passwords, fall victim to phishing schemes, accidentally destroy data, access privileged accounts, or surf websites that are inappropriate for their job. Your team of security professionals should develop a program for security awareness and training that gives your staff more responsibility and lowers the risk. Data loss protection systems can also assist you in stopping end users from unintentionally or intentionally disclosing critical information.
As you can see, the numbers demonstrate that data protection is a complex task. You may run into difficulties and roadblocks during the entire lifetime of information security. Using the advice above, you may monitor data flow across your company and strengthen your security posture or maturity.
Explore Data Protection with Akitra!
Security lapses are costly, and your company’s sensitive data may be located and adequately protected with data discovery, data classification, and data protection policies. Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that the organizations they work with are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk. Compliance certification fills that need.
Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation and Cybersecurity platform for SaaS companies. On the one hand, Andromeda Compliance uses automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation to help customers become certified for regulatory frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPPA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and NIST 800-53. Our compliance and security experts will also provide the customized guidance you need to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently.
On the other hand, Andromeda cybersecurity provides quad-layer protection against ransomware and other threats. We ensure that you find all IT and IoT assets (wherever they are located) and determine the best type of device. Operating system, software version, risk level, etc., you should use for your organization and obtain asset detail information from your current systems, including directory services, wireless LAN controllers, SNMP network management tools, and AWS (to increase the precision and level of detail in cataloging both physical and digital assets).
The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and money — including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.
Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!
To book your FREE DEMO, contact us right here.