Re-posted from Cyber Defense Magazine.
Modern security solutions – be they application, endpoint, IoT-focused, etc. – have evolved. Security has been shifted both left and right. However, data breaches continue to increase. The reason is very simple: almost all security solutions focus on protecting and monitoring the infrastructure or the device, but not the data.
Think about the first family of the U.S. They have an entire security team focused on protecting them, no matter where they go. Organizations need a similar approach to keeping data safe – think of it as a “data bodyguard” or protection that moves with your data. Data is any organization’s most important asset, and yet time and time again, legacy solutions are failing to protect it.
What cybersecurity gets wrong
Data breaches continue to take place all the time, despite far more awareness than ever before and a proliferation of cybersecurity solutions. In fact, according to IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach report, 83% of organizations studied have had more than one data breach. And these breaches are getting more expensive, reaching an average cost of $4.35 million in 2022, up 2.6% from the prior year.
The biggest challenge stems from how data is being protected in most organizations. It’s the most important asset for almost any organization, and yet security solutions are traditionally failing to really focus on it. There is no shortage of cloud security, endpoint security, application security solutions and the like – but these still don’t solve the major challenge of protecting your data as it moves or gets copied, because they are oblivious of what they are supposed to be protecting. In these cases, the protection or controls you have in place don’t necessarily follow that data. That’s why breaches happen.
What’s needed is a way to protect your data as it moves from location to location – in a way that’s affordable and operationally easy to use, without causing more stress on organizations already grappling with limited budgets and the ongoing cybersecurity skills gap. In addition, enterprises need an anti-fragile zero trust solution focused on data. A working zero trust system has zero implicit trust, and it puts data in the center and then builds protection outward.
Security that moves with your data
Breaches keep happening because we’re not watching the data. Instead, we’re focusing on applications, endpoints and so on. Most people know they have a problem when it comes to protecting their data, and part of the issue stems from not knowing how to prioritize the data. To protect it, you need a better way to understand the value of that data, and most companies don’t have an internal crawler that indexes their own data.
And it’s not just about the data – it’s also about who is trying to access the data. For instance, in a financial services organization, imagine that certain sensitive financial data can only be accessed by financial analysts inside the U.S. You need the right controls and rules in place that govern who can access what data, when and from where. This is tedious and time-consuming work for humans; automation is a better solution.
An anti-fragile, data-centric approach
A best practice is to implement what’s known as an anti-fragile, data-centric zero trust system:
Establishing data intelligence entails these steps:
Defending the core
Building defenses outward around a core of data is a common-sense approach to data security. Cyber attackers are going to get in, but you can take steps to ensure they can’t access your valuable data. This is the benefit of implementing a data-centric, anti-fragile zero trust system. Use the approach outlined above to deliver a zero trust approach to data protection.