The statement that data is the currency of the digital age could not be truer these days. Data is now so valuable that threat actors are always trying to steal, corrupt, or hostage it. No digital activity can take place without the exchange of data. Of note, data is a key factor in the operation of cryptocurrencies.
Given all these, it is clear why there is a need to properly secure data. Data security is non-negotiable for organizations that seek to survive and thrive in the current cyber threat landscape. However, recent reports of major data breaches appear to show the inadequacy of existing data security solutions. There is a need for a better way to protect data, especially amid the staggering aggressiveness and sophistication of threat actors.
Data security fabric
A relatively new cybersecurity concept, data security fabric is a data-centric cybersecurity solution designed to allow organizations to implement powerful controls to secure data throughout an organization. Its goal is to create unified security controls that specifically target data breaches while accelerating security audits and automating compliance.
With the way modern networks are set up, especially with the prominence of cloud storage and services, it is no longer viable to rely on traditional endpoint and perimeter-based security solutions. There is a need for data-centric security, wherein the controls are positioned where the data is. With cloud computing, it does not make sense to dictate where data should be located so it can be protected.
DSF is arguably a better way to protect data mainly because it was developed with the understanding that data can make or break a modern organization, and that data protection is business protection. As such, it standardizes and consolidates the implementation of security controls, which is important when deploying security solutions in complex environments.
Additionally, it provides a slew of features and functions to bring data security to higher levels in order to keep up with the relentlessness and creativity of threat actors. Some of the most notable features are described below based on their relevance in DSF’s data breach prevention, audit acceleration, and compliance automation goals.
More effective data security
Data security fabric enables more effective and efficient data defense through the following thrusts and functions.
Security for all data – DSF provides a unified and comprehensive view of the possible threats that can affect all data, including unstructured and structured. It also covers data in legacy systems, hybrid storage, and multi-cloud systems.
Automatic data discovery and classification – Many organizations are unaware of the location of their sensitive data, and may not even know which of the data they have is sensitive. DSF addresses this security weakness by automatically discovering data and sorting them through various techniques including cross-referencing and pattern matching.
Proactive and predictive analytics – A reputable DSF platform can help dramatically reduce data breaches attributed to configuration errors, malicious insiders, and external attacks. It has the ability to scan data repositories using pre-defined security tests based on up-to-date threat intelligence, benchmarks, and frameworks such as Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and the Defense Information Systems Agency Security Technical Implementation Guides (DISA STIGs).
Integration with data security solutions – A reliable DSF platform can integrate with a long list of data security solutions to make sure that data security becomes an indispensable fixture in the enterprise security ecosystem. It is capable of embedding data security into traditional and next-generation security information and event management (SIEM), configuration management database (CMDB) tools, security operation, automation, and response (SOAR) tools, web application firewalls (WAP), and many other tools and solutions.
Effective data masking and encryption – Most organizations already use encryption technologies, but they encounter challenges in using them effectively because of uncertainties in use cases. DSF ensures that data masking and encryption are used whenever necessary but not excessively, so they do not hinder efficiency and impair user experiences.
Automated workflow and process orchestration – DSF’s ability to integrate other security solutions also makes it possible to automate efficiently. A playbook of responses is established to coordinate actions in different security controls based on information or alerts generated by different controls. A critical incident flagged by the DSF platform, for example, can have the automatic response of deactivating certain user accounts or shutting down access to specific repositories to prevent breaches.
Accelerating security audits
Data security fabric can slash the completion time of compliance audits by half. This is possible because of the following features and functions.
Data activity monitoring – DSF can undertake constant data activity monitoring not only as part of the methods to prevent breaches but also to provide a quick way to investigate attacks. No security control can ever be foolproof, so it is important to have a readily available reference to better understand how certain attacks managed to penetrate defenses. Continuous data monitoring and logging ensure that every action is properly documented to make it easy to investigate if they are associated with attacks.
Long-term audit data access – A good DSF platform can automatically archive data accumulated through the years. The archived data is usually stored on the cloud to make it easily available for audits. It may also come with interactive dashboards and visualization tools to facilitate better access to the data. Additionally, the DSF platform usually allows the use of third-party data processing and analytics tools to make it easy for auditors and stakeholders to make use of the available data.
Moreover, DSF provides the advantage of streamlining compliance to data-related regulations, particularly when it comes to the assignment of policy controls, the enforcement of the separation of duties, retention of audit records, archiving, and reporting.
Simplified compliance – DSF is designed to ensure that various data regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Sarbanes Oxley (SOX), and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are taken into account in the setting of data security and privacy policies. These regulations are also considered in the regulation of data access and the undertaking of audits.
Automated policy-based data retention – DSF also sees to it that the right data is retained without having to manually go over multiple years’ worth of enterprise data. DSF lets organizations set the data retention policy and automatically implements it. It can also provide insights or recommendations on using cost-effective data storage infrastructure.
Streamlined reporting – Moreover, data security fabric supports compliance by providing ready-to-use templates for reports used in major compliance regulations such as HIPAA, FISMA, and GDPR. It can also provide an on-demand customized report generator or wizard.
Data security fabric presents a more effective approach in data security, which is often overlooked by many organizations. Many enterprises are confident enough with the comprehensive cybersecurity solutions they use that they fail to pay data security the attention it deserves. DSF emphasizes the need to treat data handling with utmost prudence and caution, and enterprises need to acknowledge this and become familiar with the right tools to achieve optimum data security.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.