October 13, 2020

5 Habits of Highly Data-Secure Companies

Ankur Chadda

With digital assets scattered across IT environments and data breaches still an everyday concern, organizations are faced with a daunting security challenge: how do you harmonize the security model to avoid having different best practices and tools for the traditional three-tier data center than you have for the cloud? 

A recent study conducted by IDG in May 2020 of over 100 IT leaders revealed that securing data moving between on-premises and the cloud was the number two data protection challenge (35%), after guarding against malicious damage/hacking (36%). 

“You’re trying to secure a moving target,” says Ravi Srinivasan, vice president, solutions and platform marketing, at Forcepoint. “Today you need a more programmatic approach that looks at all your data sources and channels and combines them into a [holistic] security strategy.”

Focus on User Behavior

Forcepoint recommends a more user-centric approach. In other words, your security policies should be applied to each user individually based on where they fall on a continuum of risk. Those risk assessments and the policy enforcement based on it should change dynamically based on an individual’s behavior. 

IDG’s findings support this notion. Enterprises deploying behavioral analytics, machine learning and cloud-based access controls were the least likely to have been breached in the past 12 months.

The 5 Habits:

Traditional security methods were designed to protect a traditional infrastructure with a defined perimeter. Now that the perimeter is all but gone, the organizations more likely to avoid breaches are the ones that understand data moves between data centers and the cloud and adopt policies that account for changing risk variables, such as device and network in use, as well as the user’s identity and job role. 

To adapt to the changing landscape and help keep your data more secure from breaches, we offer five recommendations: 

1. Deploy DLP systems integrated with machine learning, data analytics, and automation.

Companies that have added smart, automated DLP systems are able to rapidly identify usage patterns and learn from them to automatically grant or deny access based on the variables important to the company. According to the IDG survey, these are the organizations that reported fewer breach incidents.

2. Create user-centric policies.

With employees interacting with data on PCs, smartphones, USB sticks, email, and so on, it's very difficult to protect each channel one by one. Especially when using different security products that don't integrate. It's better to control data based on user variables like device, network, and application. 

3. Be wary of protecting only subset of your entire data.

Some organizations run their DLP systems in audit-only mode or will take a black-and-white approach to blocking or allowing all data access. In addition, they protect data carefully but only for certain channels or avenues while leaving others wide open. These approaches leave organizations open to downtime, damaged reputation, fines, lawsuits, and data loss.

4. Avoid a concoction of unintegrated, point security products.

It seems like an obvious mistake, but many companies have made it. This mainly happens when organizations initially have a very specific requirement which then evolves in to adding security products as they grow. Frankenstein-ing security tools together creates disconnects, holes and inefficiencies when you want a more integrated, holistic and efficient solution. 

5. Evaluate emerging unified security platform which cover cloud and on-premises environment.
Newer, more unified platforms can deliver visibility across hybrid, private and public cloud infrastructure while automating security policies based on changing conditions.

While many organizations are getting hit by breaches (42% of survey respondents reported at least one in the past year), the ones that have added automation in the form of cloud data control, behavioral analytics, and machine learning are faring much better. Focusing on the user, taking a dynamic approach to assessing their behavior, and adapting security policies based on actual risk can help organizations manage their security more effectively. 

To hear a discussion about findings from the IDG study and learn more about the challenges of securing data moving between on-prem and cloud and technologies they’ve used to prevent breaches, tune into the webinar: Best Practices for Avoiding a Data Breach.

Ankur Chadda

Ankur serves as Principal Solutions Manager for the company. He brings over 20 years of experience in the technology industry and leads the product marketing efforts for data protection solutions leveraging his UEBA startup experience where he helped global enterprises implement behavior...

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About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.