Every organization should have a detailed enterprise data protection strategy. Unfortunately, many organizations do not have a data protection strategy or plan to protect their enterprise data.
While enterprise-level organizations often cite data security as a priority, many companies fail to implement the security measures or data protection strategies required for robust enterprise data protection.
This post will explain the data protection challenges an enterprise faces and explore enterprise data protection solutions that can be effectively utilized to secure sensitive data and protect your business.
However, before we dive into the nuances of enterprise data protection, it might be helpful to explain what enterprise data is in the first place.
What Is Enterprise Data?
Enterprise data is all company data shared across regions, departments, and teams. Enterprise data is a critical organizational asset that is subdivided into categories depending on business processes and internal standards.
Defining enterprise data for small and medium-sized businesses is difficult since no standard or metric exists. In addition, once your business has several operating units that function across regions, its IT and data security needs become far more complicated than a one-location business.
Due to organizational complexity, data loss is a genuine concern for enterprise organizations. In addition, data loss can lead to financial loss and other penalties. As a result, enterprise businesses need to prioritize data loss prevention through enterprise data protection.
The Challenges of Enterprise Data Protection
Since enterprise data encompasses so much structured and unstructured data, perhaps the biggest challenge enterprises face is data management. Corporate data grows at an ever-increasing rate, and this trend is not expected to slow down.
Other factors affect data security, but the sheer amount of enterprise data presents the most significant challenge to businesses. In addition to scale, the other challenges of enterprise data protection include the following:
- A large number of users
- Government and industry regulations
- The growth of IoT
A Large Number of Users
The sheer number of users accessing enterprise data frequently makes data protection more difficult. User error is one of the greatest threats to data security. As a result, organizations must have transparent data security practices that are clearly communicated to employees.
A data breach won’t only affect business operations, but it could also have a significant impact on your brand’s reputation. Therefore, data security policies need to be clearly communicated and strictly enforced to ensure the large number of users accessing sensitive data don’t unwittingly compromise data privacy.
Government and Industry Regulations
Governments have a responsibility to pass legislation to protect customer data. For example, standard regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and HIPAA exist.
Enterprise data centers are appealing targets for cyber attackers because of the sensitive data they possess. The data challenge for enterprise organizations is complying with all industry and government regulations. The more data your business has, the more challenging it can be to remain fully compliant.
The Growth of IoT
IoT devices are multiplying and providing organizations with many valuable data points. However, every IoT device represents another threat to data security. While there are data discovery tools that help enterprises find vital data points, IoT security is often overlooked.
The growth of IoT presents a unique security challenge for enterprises due to an increased attack surface. Therefore, it is essential to implement robust IoT security practices to ensure that your organization is not exposed to attack.
Enterprise Data Protection Strategies
Despite the challenges enterprises face, some data protection best practices can help organizations improve data privacy and data loss prevention efforts, including the following:
- Create an inventory and categorize data
- Understand usage
- Mask data
- Implement data access controls
- Train employees regularly
Create an Inventory and Categorize Data
The first step in protecting data is understanding what data the organization possesses. You won’t know if there has been data loss if you don’t know what data your business has in the first place.
Since enterprises collect so much data, everything must be cataloged to ensure security, from the most mundane scrap of data to the most sensitive data point. Therefore, it is also important to categorize the data during the inventory process.
By labeling data, your enterprise can create security controls and policies based on the value or type of data. Data categorization also helps your business determine who has access to what data, where data should be stored, etc.
In modern enterprises, data is not static. Data is used by applications, in business processes, and more. Therefore, understanding how data is used is vital to protecting it.
Understanding the different states data occupies and how it transitions between nodes enables your organization to formulate policies to protect it. Failing to understand how data is being used will make protecting it difficult.
Data masking is critical to protecting sensitive data, even if it is stolen or lost. Standard masking techniques include data encryption, character stuffing, and tokenization. Masking enables enterprises to run data operations without exposing actual data.
Data masking is commonly used to protect sensitive financial data like credit card numbers. Masking won’t prevent data from being stolen, but it renders stolen data useless to the hackers stealing it.
Implement Data Access Controls
Data access should only be granted to the employees that need it to do their jobs. Enterprises typically have a lot of employees in different departments and regions. Robust access controls ensure that only authorized users can access data.
Very few people should have access to all of your enterprise’s data. Employees should only be able to access the data relevant to their position and task.
In addition, data privileges should be regularly reviewed to ensure that data access remains tightly controlled.
Train Employees Regularly
Enterprise data protection is a team effort. Regular employee training ensures that security policies are clear, and it creates another security asset for data protection. Since most data breaches result from user error, employee training is vital to data protection.
Informed and educated employees are far more likely to support organizational security efforts than try to undermine them. Trained employees also provide a good line of defense since they will likely be among the first to spot anomalies.
Data protection should be a priority for every enterprise. If you want to learn more about the value and importance of enterprise data protection, contact an experienced IT security partner like Koombea.