The Three Core Pillars of Data Security

Your legacy cybersecurity approaches are probably failing now in securing your ever-growing data – and it is time to acknowledge it. Outdated approaches to data security may now be obsolete as we transition into a new digital landscape, in which data is the most valuable business asset and increasing exponentially.

With that, it is essential for organisations to adopt a new strategy and what works better than a data-centric security approach, where, as the name suggests, data is at the centre of your operations?

Data-centric security protects the data itself rather than just the endpoints, networks and applications it moves between. In this strategy, you can ensure that as the data itself is secure throughout its lifecycle, from creation to application and eventual deletion.

When your most valuable asset is secure, there is a guarantee that you can make the most of your data wherever it is stored and used, without ever slowing down progress and inhibiting the proliferation of data. To achieve such, you will need to follow the three core pillars of data security:

  1. Discover and classify your sensitive data: The very first foundation of your data security should be your knowledge and awareness of what data matters most to you. Are you seeing all of your critical and sensitive data? Are you protecting the right data? These are the questions you should have answers to, because if you know what data you have, you will know what you need to secure and how to secure it. Start identifying where your most important data resides – be it within storage and file servers, applications, databases or virtual machines. Then, classify its sensitivity and importance based on internal policies and external regulations. By knowing what data you are dealing with, you can plan ahead for its protection and mitigation of risks that come with it.

  2. Protect your sensitive data: With your data discovered and classified, you can determine the risk each data set adds to your business and prioritise how and where to implement access controls and obfuscation security mechanisms for your data. This is necessary in order to mitigate the risk of data leakages and breaches. The best way to do that is by having set a baseline encryption strategy across your organisation which can not only prevent unauthorised access to your data, but also make it unreadable and useless, even if it gets stolen or leaked. Data encryption is typically employed to four levels in the technology stack: disk, file system, database and application. Each level provides varying levels of security and deployment complexity.

  3. Control encryption keys: No matter how complex or secure your cryptography may be, it will not matter if you do not secure the cryptographic keys used to encrypt your data. Anyone that has access to those keys can easily decipher anything that you have encrypted. As such, the cryptographic keys themselves must be secured, managed and controlled (ideally) by your organisation and not a third-party company or cloud provider. It is important for organisations to have a centralised key management model that will oversee the lifecycle of their keys – from generating, using, storing, distributing, archiving and deleting of keys – in order to protect them from loss or misuse.

Your data will only increase as your business grows. You will need an effective data-centric security approach so you can address the security challenges incurred by data proliferation and the emergence of global and regional privacy regulations.

This approach essentially allows organisations to mitigate risks, reduce costs and provides a comprehensive and continuous view of all their data assets. It not only ensures that data is protected from malicious users but can help organisations meet regulations and create a defensible legal position in response to a data breach.

To realise such benefits, you will need an appropriate platform such as Thales, the worldwide leader in data security. Thales provides everything an organisation needs to discover, protect and manage its data, identities and intellectual property. This includes capabilities such as data discovery and classification, encryption, advanced key management, tokenisation and authentication and access management.

The CipherTrust Data Security Platform from Thales unifies data discovery, classification, data protection and unprecedented granular access controls with centralised key management – all on a single platform. With CipherTrust Data Security Platform, you can discover, protect and control sensitive data anywhere with a next-generation unified data protection.

The CipherTrust Data Security Platform also offers advanced encryption and centralised key management solutions that enable organisations to safely store sensitive data in the cloud. It comes with a centralised enterprise key management that is FIPS 140-2 compliant, equipped with multi-cloud key management, unparalleled partner ecosystem of Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) integrations and database encryption key management.

With data-centric solutions from Thales, you can cost-effectively and efficiently protect sensitive, structured and unstructured data across your organisation.

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